Calvin and Hobbs

July 29, 2015

Dr. Rick Patrick | Senior Pastor
First Baptist Church, Sylacauga, AL

From 1985 to 1995, award-winning cartoonist Bill Watterson drew a comic strip entitled Calvin and Hobbes, depicting a six-year-old boy and his stuffed tiger, characters named after sixteenth century French theologian John Calvin and seventeenth century English philosopher Thomas Hobbes. Perhaps, in our current theological climate, a more relevant (if less humorous) comparison can be made between the afore-mentioned Calvin and the twentieth century Southern Baptist pastor, statesman and scholar Herschel Hobbs.

Juxtaposed below are eight direct quotes from these two men offering readers the opportunity to contrast their views with relative ease to determine which view most accurately reflects one’s own understanding of the Bible and of God’s plan of salvation. The Calvin quotes are from his Institutes of the Christian Religion, with the exception of the final quote, which is from his Commentary on John. The Hobbs quotes are from an essay published in The Alabama Baptist in 1995.

DIVINE DETERMINISM IN SALVATION
Calvin:
By predestination we mean the eternal decree of God, by which he determined with himself whatever he wished to happen with regard to every man. All are not created on equal terms, but some are preordained to eternal life, others to eternal damnation; and, accordingly, as each has been created for one or other of these ends, we say that he has been predestinated to life or to death.

Hobbs: Those who follow Calvin say that only the elect believe in Jesus as Savior. As I understand it, the opposite is true. Believers are the elect. I agree with Frank Stagg that election is not “a rigged television show.”

GOD’S DECREE OF REPROBATION
Calvin:
The decree is dreadful indeed, I confess.

Hobbs: Calvin held that before the foundation of the world God elected certain individuals to be saved to the neglect of all others. This is contrary to the very nature of God!

THE NATURE OF ELECTION
Calvin:
Although it is now sufficiently plain that God by his secret counsel chooses whom he will while he rejects others, his gratuitous election has only been partially explained until we come to the case of single individuals, to whom God not only offers salvation, but so assigns it, that the certainty of the result remains not dubious or suspended.

Hobbs: In essence, Paul says that God elected a plan of salvation (Eph. 1-2) and a people to propagate the plan (Eph. 3.1-6.20). But man is free to accept or reject either or both of them.

MAN’S FREE WILL
Calvin:
This movement of the will is not of that description which was for many ages taught and believed—viz. a movement which thereafter leaves us the choice to obey or resist it, but one which affects us efficaciously.

Hobbs: The Bible also teaches the free will of man as a person made in God’s image. To violate man’s free will would make him less than a person, only a puppet dangled on the string of fate. The Bible never teaches that.

GOD OVERPOWERING MAN’S WILL
Calvin:
Whenever God is pleased to make way for his providence, he even in external matters so turns and bends the wills of men, that whatever the freedom of their choice may be, it is still subject to the disposal of God.

Hobbs: Man is free to choose but is responsible to God for his choices. Otherwise God Himself is responsible for man’s sin, which is unthinkable!

EVANGELISTIC APPEALS TO THE NON-ELECT
Calvin:
It is, indeed, an easy matter to indulge in declamatory complaint on this subject, to say that we are cruelly mocked by the Lord, when he declares that his kindness depends on our wills if we are not masters of our wills—that it would be a strange liberality on the part of God to set his blessings before us, while we have no power of enjoying them—a strange certainty of promises, which, to prevent their ever being fulfilled, are made to depend on an impossibility.

Hobbs: To say that only those chosen by God can believe is to ignore the plain teachings of the New Testament. If this be true, then Jesus’ commission to evangelize the world and the many pleas for lost people to believe in Him for salvation are meaningless.

GOD’S LOVE FOR THE LOST
Calvin:
Those, therefore, whom he has created for dishonor during life and destruction at death, that they may be vessels of wrath and examples of severity, in bringing to their doom, he at one time deprives of the means of hearing his word, at another by the preaching of it blinds and stupefies them the more.

Hobbs: God in Christ has done all that even God can do to provide redemption for a lost humanity. But each person through faith in His redeeming Son must receive it for himself. Refusal to do so means such a person is lost without hope.

THE BIBLE VERSE JOHN 3:16
Calvin:
Let us remember, on the other hand, that while life is promised universally to all who believe in Christ, still faith is not common to all. For Christ is made known and held out to the view of all, but the elect alone are they whose eyes God opens, that they may seek him by faith.

Hobbs: If all of the Bible was lost except John 3:16, in this gospel within the gospel is the ability to save a lost humanity. And what does it say to us?  “For God so loved the world [not certain ones in it], that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever [anyone, anywhere, anytime] believeth [an act of man’s free will] in him should not perish [be lost, destroyed, or go to hell], but have everlasting life.” This is not hyper-Calvinism but the gospel in a nutshell.

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Les Prouty

Great juxtaposition. I choose the Reformed understanding on these matters, since I don’t follow any man.

    Lydia

    “Great juxtaposition. I choose the Reformed understanding on these matters, since I don’t follow any man.”

    Huh? The Reformation WAS NOTHING BUT “man’s understanding” which was systematized and made mandatory belief for all who lived within those political regions. Not only that but the Reformation continued the mandatory requirement to believe as the authorities said to believe or face serious punishment. How in the world is that a good understanding of our precious Savior? Any other understanding was not allowed!

      Kenny

      You do realize that all forms of Baptist faith stem from the reformation right? Without it you have no Baptist denomination… So, you are, in essence condemning the SBC with that comment. Well done.

        volfan007

        Kenny,

        There was a stream that ran into the Baptist River, which was not from the Reformation. In fact, the Reformers persecuted these “Baptists.” Also, one of the reasons for Baptists believing in separation of Church and State, so strongly, was because of what was happening in Europe.

        David

          Grant

          Separation of church and state was also a goal of the Reformation.
          John Calvin, for example, was exiled from Geneva for insisting that the church should be allowed to govern itself according to the Bible.

          Unification of church and state is a Roman Catholic principle…

        Lydia

        Kenny, Organizations and movements evolve. Do you condemn them for simply evolving? Or do we focus on why they evolved? It is a good thing in many instances especially considering the reasons the SBC was founded. Surely you don’t support the idea of chattel slavery as some of our Founders did? Right? Wouldn’t you even “condemn” chattel slavery? So would that not be in essence the same as condemning the Founding of the SBC?

        I would be more likely to say some forms of our Faith stem from the Radical wing of the Protestant Reformation. Personally, I would like to think we have more in common with some of the Radical Reformers who gave their lives for believers baptism and refusing to go along with the state church. I am speaking of the peaceful ones who spent much of their lives running from the magistrates of state church. The ones who would be condemned in Calvin’s Geneva.

        Scott Shaver

        Kenny:

        You make a valid point about branches of “reformation” (i.e magisterial, radical , etc).

        However, there comes a point where centuries of new and improved reformation based on “superior intellects” or the jettisoning of “tradition” eventually creates the kind of Byzantine practice and confusion you currently find ongoing in the SBC. Perpetual fragmentation into nuanced and warring sects.

        That’s the historical “down-side” of “reformation”.

    Robert

    Les Prouty wrote:

    “I choose the Reformed understanding on these matters, since I don’t follow any man.”

    Actually he does “follow a man”.

    He follows the teachings of the man who first invented the false Calvinistic beliefs. The man whose teachings all Calvinists follow. That man was Augustine.

    In the New Testament and in the early centuries of the church nobody taught theological determinism: everybody believed in what is ordinarily called free will. Augustine is the first to inject theological determinism into the church bloodstream and there has been confusion, division, hostility, false teachings ever since. The Reformers adopted Augustine’s ideas and systematized them (especially Calvin).

    So Yes Les does follow a man: Augustine.

    I encourage anyone who wants to see this for themselves (that Augustine invented these false doctrines), just check out what the early church taught on election, free will, salvation BEFORE Augustine, and compare this with what Augustine advocates. You will see a clear **before** and **after**. But don’t take must my word for it, check it out for yourself. If you see it yourself it will be that more clear and real for you.

      Lydia

      “He follows the teachings of the man who first invented the false Calvinistic beliefs. The man whose teachings all Calvinists follow. That man was Augustine. ”

      Bingo

      Tony Huy

      I’m not sure I follow this logic. Just because God used a specific man to solidify a thought does not mean believing that thought equates to following that man rather than God. Otherwise, would we say all those that follow pre-trib rapture follow the man Darby? Clearly he was the first to solidify the theory of pre-trib rapture. How about believers baptism? Would we equate those that are in the baptist movement as followers of say Conrad Grebel because they hold to believers baptism? Or would we say those that hold to the doctrine of the trinity to be followers of Athanasius? Like all these theological points, plenty of evidence exists in pockets, in quotes, of early church fathers that hold to the doctrine. This goes for divine determination also. The argument that Augustine solidified it and therefore, if believe it you must be simply following Augustine is not a very strong argument. This also applies to believing Calvinists simply follow a man “Calvin”. Likewise, that all Arminius simply follow a man.

        Lydia

        I’m not sure I follow this logic. Just because God used a specific man to solidify a thought does not mean believing that thought equates to following that man rather than God. Otherwise, would we say all those that follow pre-trib rapture follow the man Darby? Clearly he was the first to solidify the theory of pre-trib rapture. How about believers baptism? Would we equate those that are in the baptist movement as followers of say Conrad Grebel because they hold to believers baptism? Or would we say those that hold to the doctrine of the trinity to be followers of Athanasius? Like all these theological points, plenty of evidence exists in pockets, in quotes, of early church fathers that hold to the doctrine. This goes for divine determination also. The argument that Augustine solidified it and therefore, if believe it you must be simply following Augustine is not a very strong argument. This also applies to believing Calvinists simply follow a man “Calvin”. Likewise, that all Arminius simply follow a man.”

        Tony, I get where you are coming from. But it begs the question why we have a belief system called by the name of Calvin. I cannot think of any mere human I want to be identified with when it comes to Jesus Christ, can you? Let us say I called myself a Grebelist. Would you read scripture to find out what I believe or would you read Grebel or those who write Grebelist apologetics? If I insist Grebel is completely scriptural and you disagree with that scriptural interpretation, then what? Isn’t it healthy to discuss why? Don’t we sharpen iron to discuss why we disagree?

        This does not mean there is nothing to learn from Grebel. But what we learn can be good or bad. What if Grebel was a tyrant in how he operated within his belief system. Would that be something to discuss? How his beliefs did or did not inform or match his actions?

        volfan007

        Calvinism and Arminianism are both Augustinian philosophy. They’re both dependent on Augustinian philosophy to understand the Bible, LIKE THEY BELIEVE IT. We’re not talking about Believer’s baptism by immersion, which is clearly learned just by reading the Bible. Calvinism and Arminianism have to be learned, because they’re a philosophical framework. You don’t see Calvinism and Arminianism by just reading the Bible.

        David

    Andy

    The word “since” in your reply weekend it Les. Rick can just as easily say he follows the traditional understanding, “since he follows no man.”. Perhaps it would make more sense to say:
    ” I choose the reformed understanding in these matters, THOUGH I base my beliefs on scriptures, not men.”.

      Robert

      Andy,
      Your statements here are a bit vacuous because everybody says “I choose the X understanding in these matters, though I base my beliefs on scriptures, not men.” I have never seen anyone, even cultists (who do in fact often follow the teachings of a specific man such as a guru figure, e.g. David Koresh and the Branch Davidians) say “I choose the X understanding in these matters, though I base my beliefs on this man Y.” Cultists, Christians, everybody claims they follow scripture.

      What needs to be done is to test all claims via scripture. When Calvinism is tested it fails. And some of the texts are so simple and yet extremely intelligent men and women fail (e.g. scripture presents that Jesus died for the whole world, so test a person’s atonement claims and theories to see if their view lines up with the biblically presented fact that Jesus died for the whole world, when this is done with the Calvinist claim of limited atonement it fails, or take the claim that irresistible grace exists, there is no scripture teaching irresistible grace and actual scriptures that teach that God’s purposes can be rejected by people). Instead of claiming, I follow only the Bible, focus on testing various truth claims by scripture.

        Andy

        Sorry for my vacousnessocity…I can only reply with 2 thoughts:

        1. I DO NOT believe it is always irrelevant to state that one believes things based on the Bible, though as you point out, the statement must be backed up.

        2. My point is simply that in this case, Les’s statement is not well supported, because he essentially says, “I believe “System X” (as opposed to “System Y” BECAUSE I do not follow any man.” Lists of 2 opposing teachings are given, and Les says he agrees with one of them, but says it is because he does not follow men. Not very helpful. I can say I believe in open communion, but in baptist circles, it is insufficient to say I believe it only “since I don’t follow any man”, or “because I believe the bible”. More is needed, as here.

      Scott Shaver

      I concur. Best choice of words with appropriate disclaimer given the corner

Ron F. Hale

Rick,

I have enjoyed your “juxtaposing” of these two men and their views. Calvin had some frightening thoughts on the “reprobate” and reprobation–even to the extreme of believing that God gives some a “false faith.” Thanks!

Dr. Will Hall

Nicely done!

Leslie Puryear

Excellent post, Rick. I know of none who have only read the Bible who comes to a conclusion of Calvinist beliefs. Calvinism is taught by man, not the plain reading of the Scriptures. Perhaps that’s why there are so many books by Calvinist authors.

    Jarda Kernal

    Hi, Leslie. My name is Jarda Kernal. I became Calvisnist only through Bible study (same way I became christian). Now you know at least one. I grew up in comunistic country, in atheistic family, became christian in arminian church, study arminian seminary, read mostly arminian books. I started read Calvinistic authors after I understood I became a Calvinist. Buti n my language there is not too much calvinistic literature. God of the Bible is sovereign – He rules over man and his wicked will.

      Andrew Barker

      Jarda Kernal: Your own description would suggest that you became or at least decided to adopt a Calvinist theology after reading Calvinist authors, which is not the same as reading the Bible. But maybe your description is not accurate?

      volfan007

      Jarda,

      From what you wrote, it sounds like you became a Calvinist after reading and studying about Calvinism. The study of Arminianism would naturally take you to Calvinism studies, since the two theologies are so connected.

      David

      Lydia

      Hi Jarda, I ask this with all sincerity, How did you know it was “Calvinism” if you were only studying the bible. Calvin’s name is not there. And how did you know to call it an “Arminan” church and seminary? Where did the labels come from?

      Bill Mac

      I thought what Jarda was saying was that he came to the doctrines on his own from bible study, and then understood it to be Calvinism after reading Calvinist authors later.

        Lydia

        “I thought what Jarda was saying was that he came to the doctrines on his own from bible study, and then understood it to be Calvinism after reading Calvinist authors later.”

        You don’t see the inherent danger in that? No where in scripture do we find the words Calvin or Arminius. We don’t even find a ST. Have you ever noticed the Holy Spirit does not fit well within an ST? So why the ST box which is very hard to get out of and only ingrains the man made ST even more. It seems that Christianity only comes to be understood within that 16th Century Reformational context. We see that all around us. One way we see it is the downplaying of Jesus’ Hebrew thinking roots. If you read enough history you know the Reformation leaders despised Jews. Should be a red flag when it comes to understanding the bigger picture of Yahweh.

        volfan007

        Bill Mac,

        He said he was an Arminian. If you’re an Arminian, then a) you’re basically in the same, philosophical framework as Calvinists; and b) it’s connected to Calvinism in that it’s a reaction against it. Thus, for someone to be an Arminian, then they must have talked about Calvinism, with it being so connected to it.

        I really don’t think anyone will become a Calvinist, or an Arminian, by just reading the Bible. Those are learned philosophies.

        David

          Bill Mac

          If you don’t think he is being truthful, just say so. I’m not saying he is right, I’m just telling you how I interpreted his comment. Man you people need to lighten up a little. Perhaps if people didn’t pounce when someone comments, a little more dialog would happen.

          None of us have read our bibles in a vacuum. We weren’t lost on a desert island with just a bible and a food replicator. Whatever we believe has been shaped by other people (parents, pastors, ss teachers, authors, etc). No matter how pure you biblicists think your doctrine is, it has been shaped by more than just the bible. If you are a pastor or a teacher, you are involved in helping people interpret the bible. You aren’t just turning them loose with the bible and saying “have fun, let me know what you come up with”.

          If someone said to you, I’ve read the bible and I think salvation can be lost, what would you do? Just let it go? Of course you wouldn’t. You would attempt to correct them. It sounds very noble and pure to say “I just read and believe the bible”, but the reality is very different.

          You aren’t a Calvinist or an Arminian? Fine, most baptists aren’t, but let’s not pretend you don’t have a set of doctrines that you have learned from other people, besides what you have read in the bible.

            Jim P

            Bill Mac,

            Very Well put.
            God Bless

            Andy

            THIS.

            Some people read their bibles, and seeing passages like eph 1, John 6 & 10, Romans 8-9, job 1-2, acts 2 &4….and it seems that God has a very determining hand in both human events, and in effecting salvation…wanting to believe the bible, they accept those things as being taught by scripture. This does not automatically mean augustinianism has controlled their reading, especially if exposure to reformed writings came AFTER their bi me study…even if their own study leads them to a similar conclusion. Saying so is unfair to the person’s own testimony, and does not honestly deal with the numerous difficult texts surrounding the predestination issue.

              Andrew Barker

              Andy: before anybody makes up their mind on the question of predestination from Eph 1 they really ought to read all of the verse at least. This should lead them to question adoption. If they look up adoption verses they will come across Rom 8:15 – 23. We have have the ‘spirit’ of adoption and we are eagerly AWAITING ADOPTION! These verses confirm that predestination is not about becoming a Christian, but about the secure hope Christians have in Christ. Why would anybody think differently? :)

                Andy

                If a person read eph. 1, and then Galatians 4, they would see Paul seemingly saying we are sons of God NOW…it seems there are some aspects of adoption that are already here…though not fully realized yet. I don’t think it’s either-or. Similar to salvation…we have been saved, we are being saved, we shall be saved….all biblical.

                “Why would anybody think differently?”

                –this is the essence of the difficulty isn’t it? People think differently…people see things differently.

                  Andrew Barker

                  Andy: I think Gal 4 and Rom 8 go perfectly together. We receive the ‘spirit of adoption’ but eagerly await the full adoption as sons. Neither of which would lead anybody to conclude that predestination is anything but part of the hope of the Christian. Neither passage gives any indication that predestination is anything at all to do with becoming a Christian does it? If so, please point it out.

                    Andy

                    ANDREW,

                    Ephesians 1 says “He chose us in Him” & “he predestined us to adoption as sons”. Galatians 4 says we ARE sons NOW.

                    A very simple reading could lead one to believe that we were predestined TO BECOME SONS. No trickery, no philosophical system. Just a simple reading of the words as given, with enough evidence for one to think: “God chose me…He predestined me to be adopted as a son…which the bible says I am now. I’m a child of God. God predestined me to be his child.”

                    I’m not saying this is the only way to read these passages, but it is not a stretch to see how some people reading the bible could see these things.

                    Thanks for interacting,
                    -Andy

                    Andrew Barker

                    Andy: What you need to figure out is why you are adopted but you’re still waiting Gal 4:5 as an heir? Unless of course you feel you have already made it!?

                    So no, a simple reading does not allow the meaning of being predestined to be a son. Sons are given the ‘right’ of adoption. They are adopted as ‘sons’. Otherwise you would be left with illegitimates inheriting the right to be called children of God.

                    Andy

                    Galitians 4 does NOT say we are waiting to be an heir…I don’t really know where you are getting that.

                    GAL. 4:1-7 – 1 Now I say, as long as the heir is a child, he does not differ at all from a slave although he is owner of everything, 2 but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by the father. 3 So also we, while we were [PAST TENSE] children, were held in bondage under the elemental things of the world. 4 But when the fullness of the time came [PAST TENSE], God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, 5 so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. 6 Because you are son [PRESENT TENSE], God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7 Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God. [NOW A SON, NOW AN HEIR]

                    If I had plans to adopt someone, at what point would I call them my son & heir? AFTER I HAD ADOPTED THEM.

                    If I were telling my adopted son about the process…I might say something like this: I planned and decided to adopt you, a long time ago…and when the time was right, I adopted you and now I call you my son. You are my son now.

                    (BTW, IMO, there are much better arguments against calvinism than clinging to the idea that we haven’t been adopted yet…it just doesn’t make sense…we are called children and sons of God throughout the bible…those who were not God’s children, now they are. That’s adoption.)

                    Andrew Barker

                    Andy: As a PS, all you have to do is look at the Desiring God web site and see the section on Adoption: The Heart of the Gospel. It becomes evidently plain that the Reformed mind is totally blinkered on this matter. It practically ignores the Rom 8:23 verse until the end and then tags on a little comment “This strikes us as strange. Aren’t we already adopted?” Well of course it strikes the reader as strange because the fact of the matter is that the verse indicates that we await our adoption and all through your article you’ve been telling the reader that they are already adopted! I won’t repeat the fudge of an answer which follows, but fudge it is.

                    Back in the old days, we used to be taught about the ‘earnest of our inheritance’ but you don’t hear the term so much now. But that’s what it’s all about. The Holy Spirit. A deposit of things to come. Guaranteed like no other guarantee you could ask or wish for, but a guarantee just the same.

                    And to put the record straight, before anybody makes the mistake of thinking modern day adoption is like the adoption Paul uses in his epistles, it isn’t. So the heart warming story at the end of the DG piece is just that. Heart warming, but theologically irrelevant if not misleading!

                    http://www.desiringgod.org/messages/adoption-the-heart-of-the-gospel

                    Lydia

                    Andy wrote:”If I were telling my adopted son about the process…I might say something like this: I planned and decided to adopt you, a long time ago…and when the time was right, I adopted you and now I call you my son. You are my son now. ”

                    But in your scenario, you assume the person cannot say he does not want to be adopted by you and therefore never becomes a “son”.

                    Andrew wrote:

                    “Back in the old days, we used to be taught about the ‘earnest of our inheritance’ but you don’t hear the term so much now. But that’s what it’s all about. The Holy Spirit. A deposit of things to come. Guaranteed like no other guarantee you could ask or wish for, but a guarantee just the same. ”

                    Yes!

                    Andy

                    ANDREW,

                    Sorry, I’m not familiar with that Desiring God article, so I can’t comment on it intelligently…however, I don’t really think anything you wrote answers my points. I am dealing with the texts themselves…will you?

                    Do you believe you are, right now, a child of God, that you are one of his sons, as Galatians says? if so, how did you get that way?

                    I am not saying there are not aspects of our adoption that are not fully realized…Rom. 8 obviously says there are…but Galatians seems to say we have already been adopted as sons. Just because the apostle Paul says we “shall be saved” doesn’t negate the fact that we have already been saved. You are correct the Holy spirit is the guarantee of our inheritance, which we don’t have yet, but not having the inheritance yet is not the same as not being adopted as a son yet.

                    Lydia

                    “Do you believe you are, right now, a child of God, that you are one of his sons, as Galatians says? if so, how did you get that way? ”

                    26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. Galatians 3

                    Through Faith.

                    Andrew Barker

                    Andy: You don’t need to be familiar with the DG article. The link was at the bottom of the post if you’d taken half a minute to look.

                    I know there are plenty of better arguments against Calvinism but that’s not the point is it? The question is regarding adoption and predestination which are not the sole province of Calvinism. Eph 1 tells us that we are predestined to be adopted. It says nothing about being predestined to salvation. That is reading things into the text.

                    Eph 1:11-14 is quite clear. We receive the Holy Spirit as a guarantee of our inheritance. I don’t expect you to quibble with that. Rom 8:23 however links our adoption as sons with the redemption of our bodies. It therefore becomes untenable to hold that we are now ‘adopted’ and also that we are predestined to be sons!! Predestination is all about God’s guarantee that all who come to faith (sons) will in fact receive their inheritance. It doesn’t require a belief in Calvinism, nor should it be argued that way. Neither is using modern adoption a helpful picture because it doesn’t work the same way as the adoption Paul is referring to.

                  Andy

                  “But in your scenario, you assume the person cannot say he does not want to be adopted by you and therefore never becomes a “son”.”

                  Actually, in my scenario, I did not say how old the child was, or whether they had a choice in the matter or not…It works both ways in our world, usually based on the age of the child. You are making assumptions.

                  The point is that it is not hard to see how someone could read Eph. 1 & Gal. 4, and conclude that he was predestined to be adopted as a son/daughter of God….leading back to the main point that it IS possible to come to a calvinistic views through simple reading of the bible…just as it is possible to come to the opposite conclusions…

                    Andrew Barker

                    Andy: “Galitians 4 does NOT say we are waiting to be an heir…I don’t really know where you are getting that.”

                    I think the word heir implies exactly that ….. waiting! Heir apparent, the person who is waiting to inherit? Yes, NO?

            Scott Shaver

            I would take exception with some of Bill Mac’s de facto logic here:

            1. “None of us have read our bibles in a vacuum…” True. However, on the idea of unconditional election, many Christians have been FORCED into the posture (out of sincere conviction and pure dependence on the literal meaning of biblical texts taken in context) to confirm/defend their spirit-led (IMO) rejection of a theological template that portrays a deterministic god with less than Christ-like expression and empathy.

            2. “If you don’t think he is being truthful (i.e. if you think he’s lying) just say so.” Not as black and white as that. Who knows how long this friend had to have his initial contact with the HS and scripture reframed by a 5-point template through a caring or supporting mentor/sponsor? How long before the theological pendulum of this particular individual swings in another direction?

            Lydia

            “You aren’t a Calvinist or an Arminian? Fine, most baptists aren’t, but let’s not pretend you don’t have a set of doctrines that you have learned from other people, besides what you have read in the bible.”

            The Neo Cal movement cannot pretend the last 10 years have not happened. There are serious trust issues involved because of how that movement has operated in the SBC and greater evangelical circles. That is why I don’t buy into gas lighting comments that claim any questioning, dissent or disagreement is “pouncing” on someone.

            . Funny thing is I learned doctrines in the SBC as a child concerning the basics but found out from the Neo Cal movement that they really had different definitions for the same words used whether it was “grace”, “sovereign”, Priesthood of believer, free will, etc, etc (Funny one hears almost nothing about the Holy Spirit from that movement)

            . Imagine the surprise people have when they finally realize they are using the same words differently but never announced why. There is a serious trust issue out there. It is like the covert emotional abuser who claims you are a heretic but don’t know it but now says we are being mean because we question everything they say. That is a result of the way they carried out their resurgence. It was not honest.

            I fear what people are really saying without realizing it is that the Holy Spirit is leading them to Calvin or Arminius. I often think folks have to get out of that bubble to see/hear what their words really sounds.reads like.

Alan Atchison

Excellent read, particularly powerful was that last explanation of John 3:16.

Rob Holler

Absent from the commentary of the quotes is the Biblical doctrine of Man’s Total Inability. This doctrine is a “game changer” to the banter offered between Calvin and Hobbs.

    Don Johnson

    Rob,

    I think you mean the Calvinist’s doctrine of “total inability.” Total inability is not found in Scripture.

      Ken Temple

      The reason why Augustine, Calvin, Luther (in his book and debate with Erasmus, on the Bondage of the Will), Jonathan Edwards, Sproul, Piper, Mohler, etc. have come to the conclusions they have is because of clear Scripture, the words of Jesus, John the Baptist, the apostle Paul, etc.

      Total inability and God’s grace in changing people so that they could respond to the gospel:

      “no one is able to come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him . . . ” John 6:44

      “a man can receive nothing unless it has been given him from heaven” John 3:27

      “Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word.” John 8:43

      “He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God.” John 8:47

      “So then, it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.” Romans 9:16

      “So then, He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.” Romans 9:18

      A certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple fabrics, from the city of Thyatira, was listening to Paul preaching, And the Lord opened her heart so that she could respond to the things that Paul was preaching.” Acts 16:14

        Andrew Barker

        “Total inability and God’s grace in changing people so that they could respond to the gospel:”

        Ken, scripture describes the Gospel as the power of God unto salvation. Are you saying it’s not quite man enough for the job?

        Don Johnson

        Ken,

        Thank you for listing several Scripture texts. Could you tell us what you think they mean?

        Take your last text for instance Acts 16:14. Can you explain to me, if Lydia had “total inability”, how was it that she could worship God and go to a prayer meeting before she ever heard Paul preach?

        Clif Springer

        Concerning Total Inability: I’ve wondered what Reforms do with Cain. According to Total Inability, if he was not one of the elect, he could not have heard God speaking to him. Therefore, since he heard God speaking to him, you count him as one of the elect? Cain as one of God’s elect just seems really off base.

          Andy

          “According to Total Inability, if he was not one of the elect, he could not have heard God speaking to him.”

          1. This is not an accurate description of total inability. Please don’t make me list the numerous times God spoke to pagans.

          2. Even taking into account 1 john 3, There is not sufficient evidence to confirm whether or not Cain turned to follow God after Abel’s death, so we can’t say for sure whether he was elect or not.

            Steven

            Jude 1:11-13
            Woe to them! For they have traveled down Cain’s path, and because of greed have abandoned themselves to Balaam’s error; hence, they will certainly perish in Korah’s rebellion. 1:12 These men are dangerous reefs at your love feasts, feasting without reverence, feeding only themselves. They are waterless clouds, carried along by the winds; autumn trees without fruit – twice dead, uprooted; 1:13 wild sea waves, spewing out the foam of their shame; wayward stars for whom the utter depths of eternal darkness have been reserved.

              Andy

              1. Point 1 stands, you are not describing calvinists beliefs accurately…and I think God spoke to Balaam too.

              2. As I said, strong evidence perhaps, but not confirming evidence…

    Sean

    Thanks Rob, I am in wholehearted agreement with you. This is the key issue that divides us who hold to the doctrines of grace and our Traditionalist brothers. They deny the total inablity of man to respond positively to Christ and as long as they hold to this view, we will never be in agreement on these issues. Leighton Flowers is the up and coming SBC traditionalist exegete who has attempted to deal with the texts that teach total inability but his interpretations fall short.

    I have tried to get others on this blog to interact with John 6, Romans 8, and 1 Corinthians 2 and prove that they don’t teach total inablity and I can’t get anybody to deal honestly with the texts. I’ve found that any time I try to exegete and walk through texts on this blog, all I get are quick responses and sound bytes. I regretfully read this blog every day to see how much our SBC is moving in a downgrade in theology but the last few posts have made me want to never come here again. It’s an exercise in futility and much of an echo chamber as the same people keep commenting. I think in reality the Traditionalist Connect316 people see that they have lost the younger generation of the SBC to Calvinism and they are legitimately concerned. But T4G, the Gospel Coalition, 9 Marks, and others offer way more substantive resources and arguments and positivity than the combative stance of this blog that is desperately trying to hold on to the past. This may sound harsh, but I think it’s a reality.

      Don Johnson

      Sean,

      Before one proves your texts don’t teach “total inability” you must first try to prove they do. Since John 6 is the favorite among Calvinist’s why not start with that. I’m looking forward to see how you “honestly” deal with the text. In the event you don’t respond as I stated to you before, John 6 is not applicable to anyone today.

        Robert

        Don,
        I was just reading over the posts in this thread and reread your post here. I understand the argument that those given to the Son by the Father in John 6 were believers under the Old covenant who then had to begin following Jesus (sort of a transitional group) and so **they** are a group that only existed in the first century (hence some argue as you do that this does not apply to the twentieth century). Now that argument and point makes sense in regards to this group. However, John 6:44 is not directed only at this group, it seems to have a larger referent (Jesus says “No one can come to Me”, which seems to be more than just those Old covenant believers who had to transition into New covenant believers). If the referent is more broad than this transitional group, then this verse seems to be indicating some form of “total inability” (i.e. a person cannot come, hence total inability to come, UNLESS they are drawn by the Father). I see nothing in the verse indicating that this statement is to be restricted only to the transitional group (Old covenant believers who were given to Jesus and became New Covenant believers).

        If this is the case, then your claim that “John 6 is not applicable to anyone today” is false.

        I am not a Calvinist, and so I do not view the nonbeliever as being like a physical corpse unable to understand spiritual things whatsoever. At the same time, John 6:44 properly interpreted does indicate some form of “total inability” to be true. Contrary to Pelagians, we cannot just come to God on our own. We require the pre-conversion work of the Spirit to be able to be in the place to put our faith in Jesus to save us. I see the drawing referenced by Jesus in John 6:44 to be referring to this pre-conversion work of the Spirit. No drawing = no ability to have a faith response. Though this drawing can and sometimes is resisted by people.

        Don what is your evidence that John 6:44 is not a broader statement applying to all people??? What is your argument that John 6:44 has no application to anyone today?

          Don Johnson

          Robert,

          Thanks for the questions. To completely answer you it will take more than a single post, but we’ll start the ball rolling so to speak. First I want to reiterate John 6:44 is not applicable to anyone today. Second, it was only applicable to first century Jews. You are correct to say it does teach some form of inability, but not as Calvinist’s teach. In fact it is the complete opposite of what Calvinist’s teach.

          Let’s start with the inability part first. When Jesus stated that “no man can come to me, except the Father draw him”, He meant exactly that. Later we’ll look at who it was that were drawn but for now we’ll see why certain people could not come or be drawn. Consider the following:

          John 12:38-40 “That the saying of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed? Therefore they could not believe, because that Isaiah said again, He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.”

          Again John 12 as John 6 the audience was Jewish. Please note why the people couldn’t believe. Does the text say or infer they couldn’t believe because God wouldn’t regenerate and give them the faith to believe. NO. Was there some inability on the part of the people themselves. NO. Then what was it? It was God who prevented them from believing. The people didn’t need “irresistible grace” in order to believe. They needed to be blinded and hardened so they could not believe. The people had the ability to believe but God would not allow them to believe. The Calvinist’s doctrine of “total inability and irresistible grace” are clearly disproved from this text alone.The inability was caused by God and not by man’s depraved nature. Next we’ll look at who were drawn to Christ and what was different about them. Questions or comments thus far?

            Robert

            Hello Don,

            Before I go further, I am not a Calvinist. I do not believe in irresistible grace nor do I believe in unconditional election. That being said, a lot of what you say in your post appears to be directed at the errors of Calvinism so it does not apply to me.

            “To completely answer you it will take more than a single post, but we’ll start the ball rolling so to speak. First I want to reiterate John 6:44 is not applicable to anyone today.”

            And you gave no reason why this is supposedly true.

            “Second, it was only applicable to first century Jews.”

            Again, why is this supposedly true?

            “Let’s start with the inability part first. When Jesus stated that “no man can come to me, except the Father draw him”, He meant exactly that. Later we’ll look at who it was that were drawn but for now we’ll see why certain people could not come or be drawn.”

            We know who is drawn because in the same gospel over in chapter 12:32 John tells us that “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth [that is referring to the crucifixion of Jesus], will draw all men to Myself.”

            The drawing according to this verse is of ALL men, not just first century Jews.

            “Consider the following:
            John 12:38-40 “That the saying of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed? Therefore they could not believe, because that Isaiah said again, He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.”

            The reference to Isaiah refers to situations when the Jews were being rebellious to the Lord and His Word. God did not cause them to be this way, instead they became this way through their unbelief. God’s Word when it goes out tends to open hearts or harden them depending upon how the people respond to it.

            “Again John 12 as John 6 the audience was Jewish. Please note why the people couldn’t believe. Does the text say or infer they couldn’t believe because God wouldn’t regenerate and give them the faith to believe. NO.”

            But that is Calvinism, and I don’t hold to Calvinism. I do not believe that regeneration precedes faith and causes faith to occur. I believe that faith precedes regeneration.

            “Was there some inability on the part of the people themselves. NO.”

            Actually Yes, if John 6:44 applies to all people as I believe that it does.

            “Then what was it? It was God who prevented them from believing.”

            No, again, the Isaiah passage and other passages about hardening and unbelief do not teach that God unilaterally hardens people and prevents people from believing. They harden themselves further when they choose to reject God’s Word.

            “‘The people didn’t need “irresistible grace” in order to believe.”

            Correct, again that is Calvinism and I do not believe in Calvinism.

            “They needed to be blinded and hardened so they could not believe. The people had the ability to believe but God would not allow them to believe.”

            People do not have the ability to believe unless the Holy Spirit works in them (i.e. the preconversion work of the Spirit that enables but does not necessitate a faith response). If the Spirit does not convict you of sin, reveal Christ to you, reveal that Jesus alone is the way of salvation, etc. etc. etc. you will not be able to put your faith in Christ to be saved. We cannot save ourselves nor do we come to God on our own by our own efforts alone.

            “The Calvinist’s doctrine of “total inability and irresistible grace” are clearly disproved from this text alone.”

            Again no need to convince me of the errors of Calvinism.

            “The inability was caused by God and not by man’s depraved nature.”

            Actually the inability was caused by these people’s responses of unbelief.

            “Next we’ll look at who were drawn to Christ and what was different about them. Questions or comments thus far?”

            Don you still need to show ****from the text of John 6**** that the inability referred to in v. 44 only applied to first century Jews.

              Don Johnson

              Robert,

              Sorry for the delay, I’ve been occupied elsewhere.

              I should have been more exact with the time period. John 6 applies only up until the time of the cross in the first century. After that time the Father does not draw and give anyone to Christ. But as you correctly stated Christ draws all to Himself John 12:32.

              Why isn’t the Father drawing anyone to Christ today?

              1. Christ is not come down from Heaven today vs 38. He is in Heaven.
              2. No one today has seen Christ vs 40.
              3. Christ today is not sent from the Father. He is in Heaven with the Father.
              4. People today do not hear and learn of the Father vs 45. They hear and learn about Christ Acts 1:8 “ye shall be witnesses unto me.”
              5. All the people who were given or drawn to Christ already were believers in the Father vs 45, 64.

              If people would not believe in the God of the Old Testament, God would not let them believe in the God of the New Testament. Because He is the same God John 12:38-40. However, since the time of the cross that has all changed. People who could not be saved during Christ’s ministry can and in many cases were saved after the cross Acts 2,3,6,15.

      volfan007

      Sean,

      I have preached thru John, Romans, and 1 Corinthians. I preach verse by verse. I did not find Calvinism in those passages. I’ll bet you that Dr. Lemke, Dr. Alan, Dr. Yarnell, and other Profs could talk to you about these passages for hours…..and, at the end of the day, they would still not be Calvinists, and you would probably still be holding onto Calvinist beliefs. So….what’s the point?

      David

Lydia

“Absent from the commentary of the quotes is the Biblical doctrine of Man’s Total Inability.”

Man’s “total inability” to do what, exactly? Inability to respond to Jesus Christ? The Holy Spirit?

John Gregory

I was a SBC. member for 35 years. I’m now
70. I left SBC because of its allowing Calvinism
To exist in its midst. Went to Calvary Chapel.
Where NO FORM OF CALVINISN IS ALLOWED.
LOVE IT! Freedom from the never ending
incidous, corrupt teachings!!:
Irradiated CALVINISN! Of course, if you do
What could you spend your time doing?

    Andy

    Just curious, did you leave a particular SBC Church because IT was allowing calvinistic influence, or did you leave a non-calvinsist SBC church because of what other SBC churches were allowing?

    -andy

    Jimmy

    I was in CC for 20 years. I’m now 48. I was ordained in CC. I left CC because their leadership lacks serious accountability, education, and depending on which one you attend they don’t believe in eternal security. Also they believe speaking in tongues and all other sign gifts are for today (though you may not see it practiced where you’re attending). Suggest you read their “distinctives”. No such thing as their ” Moses Model” for church leadership. I’ve been SBC now for 2 years and love it. Will never go back. Funny thing happened when I read the Bible verse by verse (the CC way), I came out believing in the doctrines of grace (Calvinism). Research the roots of CC. Then come back home.
    Jimmy

Donald Morgan

“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”
(John 17:20-26 ESV)

“Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”
(John 20:21-23 ESV)

The Great Commission

Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

(Matthew 28:16-20 ESV)

This is the Faith in which I was raised. A Baptist Faith! A Faith in Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior. Without the filter of Calvin, or anyone else.

Sean

I highly respect Herschel Hobbs as the premiere mid to late 20th century SBC statesman. But, I believe is the one figure who single handedly turned the SBC away from its historic Calvinist roots to embrace Arminianism/Traditionalism. He popularized the corporate view of election from his understanding of Ephesians 1. He also staunchly promoted the libertarian free will of men. As a Calvinist, I see this as a downgrade in our denomination’s theology and thankfully a resurgence in Calvinism has helped get us back to our roots. Arminian theology almost always leads to liberalism. I know that is a blanket statement but I believe it’s mostly true. Also, many Traditionalists will not like being labeled Arminian and I respect that but if you read the writings of men like Steve Lemke and others, they clearly are unapologetic about holding to views like the foreknowledge view of election as well as prevenient grace.

I highly recommend reading “The Ascent of Lost Man in Southern Baptist Preaching” by Mark Coppenger http://founders.org/the-ascent-of-lost-man-in-southern-baptist-preaching/

    Ron F. Hale

    Sean,
    First you say: “But, I believe is the one figure who single handedly turned the SBC away from its historic Calvinist roots to embrace Arminianism/Traditionalism.” No, the SBC had been moving away from strict Calvinism years before Dr. Hobbs rose to influence. Compare the first and second versions of the Sandy Creek Baptist confessions of faith.

    Secondly you say: “He popularized the corporate view of election from his understanding of Ephesians 1.” Praise God, he got it right!

    Thirdly —Concerning your “downgrade” comments — are you saying that all of our Reformed Presbyterian groups and other Reformed groups have all stayed biblically conservative due to their Calvinism?

    Last, you mention the Founders book — therefore you must know a little about Ernest C. Reisinger, the founder of Founders. The church that he “quote” reformed, can you tell me if it is alive today?

    Blessings!

    volfan007

    Sean,

    Reformed theology used to dominate Europe. Did it keep Europe from turning liberal? Did it keep Europe’s Church from all buy dying and disappearing from the land?

    David

      Scott Shaver

      That seems to be the historical trend with “reformed” flavor of “high calvinism”.

      Either recedes into the shadows or becomes more liberal and accomodating over time.

    Stephen R. Jones

    Sean,
    Your blanket statement that “Arminian theology almost always leads to liberalism” is all wet. Others have already responded to prove the exact opposite is true historically: Calvinist theology almost always leads to liberalism. However, no one has yet pointed out another glaring error in your comments: we Southern Baptists are not Arminian in our theology! The “traditional” term we are using refers to a biblical theology that is neither Calvinist nor Arminian.

      Lydia

      “However, no one has yet pointed out another glaring error in your comments: we Southern Baptists are not Arminian in our theology! ”

      Thank you. I forgot about that. But it is all they know. Calvinism or Arminianism. I am not even a Protestant as I am not protesting the other state church. :o)

      Sean

      I’m not accusing you of being Arminian. But there are some major inconsistencies coming from top Traditionalist voices.

      Does the Traditionalist view adhere to the traditional Arminian view of conditional election/foreseen faith or the corporate view? Steve Lemke in many of his writings (and I would consider him one of your top theologians) has argued for foreseen faith and prevenient grace. Others like Herschel Hobbs have argued for the corporate view of election.

      I am not going as far to say that Traditionalist SBC theology will lead to liberalism but I am concerned that losing a belief in total inablity will lead to a softening of sin, the need for the miracle of regeneration, and may affect how many do evangelism and missions.

        Andrew Barker

        Sean: “Does the Traditionalist view adhere to the traditional Arminian view of conditional election/foreseen faith or the corporate view? ”

        I’m not sure what you are trying to argue here. Many Christians hold core beliefs. This is only to be expected! A Calvinist may teach that God created the world. Well we all believe that but it doesn’t make us Calvinistic. If you are going to argue that losing a belief in total inability leads to a softening of sin and the need for regeneration, go ahead and do it. But as yet all you’ve done is stated that point. You’ve provided no basis for thinking this might actually be the case.

        Neither have you put the case for regeneration before faith, which I assume is what you are arguing? Again, all Christians believe in regeneration. It’s just Calvinists who try to argue that God regenerates people before they are saved! As for evangelism it is my observation that God works in the lives or certain Christians and this produces a desire to evangelise. It is not connected with any particular theology and cuts across all denominational barriers. Put simply, God has given certain people the gift of evangelism and if you have it, you have it!

          Lydia

          ” If you are going to argue that losing a belief in total inability leads to a softening of sin and the need for regeneration, go ahead and do it. But as yet all you’ve done is stated that point. You’ve provided no basis for thinking this might actually be the case. ”

          Often it has the opposite effect. If one is totally unable and remains wicked YET chosen, then it matters little what they do since Jesus is being righteous for them. The focus in the world is authoritarianism so it becomes a huge sin trap because the focus is on controlling people and elevating themselves as oracles of God and totally ignoring the Holy Spirit.. There have been plenty of examples from that movement.

Jim P

Dr. Patrick ,

“This is not hyper-Calvinism but the gospel in a nutshell.” It is not.

The Gospel is the GOOD NEWS that God has defeated man’s and His two greatest enemies, SIN and DEATH, through HIS anointed representative, Christ, and HE is now marching to restore HIS Creation as HE originally intended and is calling all mankind to enter with HIM in this restoration process.

Forgiveness of sins, everlasting life, fellowship, are benefits of those who accept this invitation. Giving attention to the benefits is like only seeing the parabola and ignoring the the invisible point, the focus, which is what gives meaning to the parabola.

Johnathan Pritchett

Sean wrote: “Arminian theology almost always leads to liberalism. I know that is a blanket statement but I believe it’s mostly true.”

Define liberalism. Do you mean theological liberalism? Because that was the product of Calvinists like Friedrich Schleiermacher and Lutherans like F.C. Baur.

Calvinism and Lutheranism leads to liberalism way more often than “Arminianism.”

Many Liberal Calvinists have written or are writing OT commentaries for Evangelical audiences, and they are also thankfully getting fired from conservative seminaries left and right.
.
The liberal mainline denominations here in America are mostly the Calvinist and Lutheran traditions. Ditto theological liberalism in Europe to this day.

What about political liberalism?

Same thing, especially outside the U.S. like Anglican Calvinists in Europe and Australia.

And please, avoid “No True Scotsman” responses…

Liberal Calvinism and Liberal Lutheranism past and present makes up the bulk of theological liberalism. Sorry that facts and history get in the way of what you believe is “mostly true,” but reality demonstrates that what you believe is mostly false.

David Worley wrote: “Reformed theology used to dominate Europe. Did it keep Europe from turning liberal? Did it keep Europe’s Church from all buy dying and disappearing from the land?”

No, it caused it.

    Sean

    My blanket statement was meant to be a little hyperbolic. My personal opinion is that the influence of E.Y. Mullins and Herschel Hobbs (although not liberal themselves theologically) set the table by their Arminian theology for the liberalization of the SBC in the 60’s-mid 80’s and thus the need for the Conservative Resurgence.

    As a general rule, denominations that have CONSISTENTLY held to Reformed Theology have remained theologically conservative and have been the champions for inerrancy (Warfield, etc)

    When one looks at the commentaries and writings in the last 50 years or so, there hasn’t been many theologically robust treatments on major subjects coming from Arminians–unless I’m not aware.

    Let me clarify my statement. When Calvinist groups/denominations move from their Calvnistic roots and adopt more Arminian tendencies–it has often lead to universalism and liberalism. I am not denying that is has also happened in Europe–but the state church situation there had much to do to dilute the doctrines of grace.

    I purposely wrote that statement as a way to respond to much of the hyperbolic over the top statements that are made on this blog such as Calvinsim being a form of spiritual racism, and other issues.
    My overall hope is that within the SBC we as Calvinists and Traditionalists can continue to work together for the great good of getting the gospel to unreached people groups and through church planting.

      Lydia

      “As a general rule, denominations that have CONSISTENTLY held to Reformed Theology have remained theologically conservative and have been the champions for inerrancy ”

      I am wondering about your definition of conservative? The largest Presbyterian denomination focuses on social justice. (Not saying that is all bad either. We could use more of that in dealing with predators and charlatans)

      Perhaps you are thinking of the OPC or CREC? If either is your definition of conservative… Yikes. Fascist is more like it. As to the SBC, was it inerrant when it interpreted scripture to support slavery?

Lydia

“Calvinism and Lutheranism leads to liberalism way more often than “Arminianism.”

History really bears this out if you read enough of it. Sean sounds like he is parroting something he was told by some guru without checking historical facts. It simply does not bear out in historical fact. So what happened to Yale, Princeton, Harvard? What happened to the Puritans? What happened in Geneva? What happened across Reformational Europe? We could go on and on.

Josh Duncan

I never felt much of an urge to evangelize before I read Romans 9 and was cured of my semi-pelagianism. When I believed that “God chooses to save hise who first make a choice to believe in him,” I understood evangelism as a purely logical discourse and never felt adequate to make such a case apart from telling people “you’ve got a choice to make.” Only since becoming convinced of the reformed faith have I had a passion to preach the gospel to anyone, and it is quite tiring to hear the same rhetorical questions asked which demonstrate that most of our non-reformed brothers haven’t listened to what reformed teachers have to say about the great commission.

    Don Johnson

    Josh,

    “Our non-reformed brothers haven’t listened to what reformed teachers have to say about the great commission.” Could you enlighten us non-reform folk as to what that may be?

      Josh Duncan

      I’d encourage you to listen to the resources at Ligonier Ministries, Dr. Albert Mohler, and John Piper concerning the Great Commission. Might I suggest that you’re most likely to get a fair representation of what Reformed Christianity teaches by listening to them articulate their own position and not relying on how those stridently opposed to it characterize it?

      As I said, I’ve never been more passionately concerned with learning the Bible or with bringing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all the world since becoming persuaded of the Reformed position on grace.

    Donald

    Josh, I wonder if you can explain the current state of reformed churches that used to dominate nations? For example, in a recent Acts 1:8 conference an IMB missionary to Scotland reported that 0.14% of the population is Christian. Where is the great fruit from these formerly Reformed populations?

      Josh Duncan

      Donald, if I took a cult with Baptist tendencies and made that the stand-in for all non-reformed baptists as a way of dismissing them, would you take that line of reasoning seriously, or would you see that using one group to insult another group which doesn’t share it’s views is a category error?

      God’s elect are a remnant. Those who go out from us were never one of us to begin with. The church in Europe as a whole has suffered as secular progressivism has become the cultural norm, and the cultural benefits of “behaving in a Christian manner” are disappearing, and thus those who can’t expect cultural benefits from being labeled a Christian are starting to abandon that label. That’s not to our loss, because, in the language of 1 John, those who apostate, those who go out from us, never really belonged to us to begin with.

      You can’t judge the fruit of Reformed Christians by denominations that were once considered Reformed in history and abandoned that positions any more than I could judge your fruit by pointing to a person who says he is a Baptist but has no saving faith and arguing as if you are him.

        Steven

        Amen, Josh
        It is not your perseverance that saves, but it is saving faith that perseveres.

Lydia

Josh, Next time try reading the entire book of Romans and filter it through the words and actions of Jesus Christ. :o) You don’t even have to be a semi Pelagian….whatever that is since the little bit we know about him comes from the Augustinian detractors.

    Joshua Duncan

    Lydia, should I exclude the sermon in John 6 in the list of words and actions of Jesus I’m supposed to use to filter Romans 9 with?

    I did read the whole Book of Romans. Once as a high school student when I was speed reading for school, back when I rejected the notion of predestination entirely, then again in college when I was taking ceramics and wanted to find a Bible passage about God as potter. When I looked up and read Romans 9 I was expecting some sort of sweet self-esteem boost about how God is an artist and we are his creations, but when I read Paul’s arguments, I went and reread the whole book of Romans before concluding that it was indeed speaking to my presuppositions. I was the one using the same arguments as Paul’s objector.

    Of course, I could be self-deceived and in error, but a consistent Biblical exegesis of Romans 9 is the way to convince a Reformed Christian of that, not going off about how bad Calvinism is. I’m yet to find someone who doesn’t think Romans 9 refers to individual believers who is able to make that case without jumping around in the text or going off on a tangent on their dislike of Calvinism. Generally, the argument is put in philosophical terms that if I believe X, then Y must also be true, and Y is bad, so I shouldn’t believe X. The path that non-reformed Biblically Christians should be taking is that Romans 9 doesn’t teach X, but their perception of Calvinism continues to muddy that discussion.

      volfan007

      JOsh,

      You know what’s funny? I preach thru books in the Bible, and I preach verse by verse. I have preached the Gospel of John, Romans, and 1 Corinthians. I didn’t see Calvinism in those passages. They didn’t make me want to become a Calvinist. And, I believe strongly in winning souls to Jesus…..and, I’m not Reformed. Imagine that?

      David

        Josh Duncan

        Volfan,

        You have completely misunderstood my point. My point is delivered in the context of Calvinists being falsely accused of not caring about evangelism. You seem to think I was trying to say non-reformed Baptists don’t care about evangelism. If you are in a position where you are responsible for preaching to people the truth of God’s word, would you please make an effort to truthfully understand my position before you decry it? I think you have that duty as one who is a minister for his profession.

        Since you have read and preached from John, Romans, and 1 Corinthians, perhaps you could provide me with a compelling reason, from the text, for why I should think that Romans 9 does not pertain to individual salvation given the context of Abraham’s justification provided earlier in the book? Sarcasm is not an effective method of conveying that, and I expect better of a minister.

          volfan007

          Joshua,

          You said that becoming a Calvinist and truly understanding Romans 9 is when you really got a passion for witnessing. I was answering that comment. I hear a lot of Calvinists start talking about passages of Scripture, as if the Non Calvinists a) haven’t read them; b) deny the truths taught in them; or c) are Semi Pelagian. All of us, Non Cals, do read and believe John 6, Romans 9, and 1 Corinthians. We just don’t put the Augustinian/Calvinist spin on them. And, that doesn’t make us Semi Pelagians(heretics).

          David

            Steven

            Volfan,

            it is God’s timing, when he gives his adopted children eyes to see, discernment.

          Lydia

          “My point is delivered in the context of Calvinists being falsely accused of not caring about evangelism.”

          You will never read me make that claim. I think you guys are dead set on evangelizing for Calvinistic determinism.

            Joshua Duncan

            Well, Lydia, I believe in preaching Christ crucified. I’m sorry if your understanding of what I believe makes it hard for you to accept that.

              Lydia

              “Well, Lydia, I believe in preaching Christ crucified. I’m sorry if your understanding of what I believe makes it hard for you to accept that.”

              Please include the resurrection and all that entails when “preaching”. Without the resurrection the cross is meaningless. It is a historical fact that quite a few Jewish men were crucified before and after Jesus, but NONE were innocent and NONE were resurrected.

          Robert

          Josh,

          You asked: “Since you have read and preached from John, Romans, and 1 Corinthians, perhaps you could provide me with a compelling reason, from the text, for why I should think that Romans 9 does not pertain to individual salvation given the context of Abraham’s justification provided earlier in the book?”

          You have failed to distinguish **individual salvation** from **unconditional election**/UE.

          Most non-Calvinists believe that individual salvation is discussed throughout Romans including in Romans 9, Romans 10, and Romans 11 (the section dealing with the issue of whether God’s Word had failed since so many individual Jews in the first century were not believing the gospel presented by Paul, hence Paul deals with this issue in Romans 9-11).

          What non-Calvinists believe is that UE is not the subject in Romans 9 and that calvinists read in UE into the chapter when that is not the subject that Paul is discussing.

          Paul makes points about individual salvation in Romans 9 but he is especially interested in showing how individual salvation works for first century Jews (i.e. it works the same as it does for Gentiles, people are saved through faith whether they are Jews or Gentiles).

          So Romans 9 does pertain to **individual salvation** it just does not pertain to unconditional election.

      Robert

      Joshua,

      “Lydia, should I exclude the sermon in John 6 in the list of words and actions of Jesus I’m supposed to use to filter Romans 9 with?”

      I believe that you may have missed the point: the point is that Calvinists tend to resort to the same prooftexts (Romans 9, John 6, Ephesians 1, certain verses in Proverbs, etc.) and interpret them as if they have a Calvinist filter that leads them to interpret every text so that it lines up with the Calvinist system. If you question these folks further on their “interpretations” you find they really don’t know nor do they take seriously the contexts of these texts (a dead giveaway of “proof texting” is when the context is ignored and something is read in which does not fit the actual context at all: e.g. Romans 9-11 functions as a unit discussing the issue of why so many first century Jews were rejecting the gospel message that the apostle Paul was proclaiming if it was true, had God’s Word then failed? So Paul discusses Jewish history in the early verses and repeats the objections of ***Jewish objectors*** in the middle of the chapter, the same objections he had already brought up in Romans 3, yet you never see Calvinists discussing how Romans 3 and Romans 9 are discussing the same objections, of first century Jews, not folks objecting to the Calvinistic concept of unconditional election).

      “I went and reread the whole book of Romans before concluding that it was indeed speaking to my presuppositions. I was the one using the same arguments as Paul’s objector.”

      It is highly doubtful that you were “using the same arguments as Paul’s objector” since His objector was a ****first century Jewish person*****.

      The fact that you think he was talking about your twentieth century objections/presuppositions shows you completely missed the first century context of Romans 9.

      “Of course, I could be self-deceived and in error, but a consistent Biblical exegesis of Romans 9 is the way to convince a Reformed Christian of that, not going off about how bad Calvinism is.”

      Your statement here is extremely naïve. Calvinists cling to their extra biblical narrative/theology which becomes their interpretive grid/filter for “interpreting” the Bible. Merely presenting an alternative interpretation to their interpretation does not do much. It is very similar to presenting the proper interpretation of scripture to a thoroughly indoctrinated non-Christian cult member (they won’t see it as their presuppositions derive from their non-biblical narrative or system that is not from the Bible).

      “I’m yet to find someone who doesn’t think Romans 9 refers to individual believers who is able to make that case without jumping around in the text or going off on a tangent on their dislike of Calvinism.”

      This comment merely displays that you are unaware of non-Christian interpretations of the text. For example it is highly unlikely that you have read Arminius’ interpretation of Romans 9 (it is easily accessible on line). Other non-Calvinists have also interpreted this text in a non-Calvinistic way (e.g. Catholic and Eastern Orthodox theologians and exegetes). You probably have not read the interpretation of someone like Ben Witherington either.

      “Generally, the argument is put in philosophical terms that if I believe X, then Y must also be true, and Y is bad, so I shouldn’t believe X. The path that non-reformed Biblically Christians should be taking is that Romans 9 doesn’t teach X, but their perception of Calvinism continues to muddy that discussion.”

      Again, as you appear to be completely ignorant of non-Calvinistic interpretations of Romans 9, you claim that non-Calvinists have only philosophical appeals and arguments.

      Instead of making statements that have no support, why don’t you do some further investigation and read some non-Calvinist interpretations of Romans 9, John 6, Ephesians 1, etc. etc.???

        Lydia

        ” believe that you may have missed the point: the point is that Calvinists tend to resort to the same prooftexts (Romans 9, John 6, Ephesians 1, certain verses in Proverbs, etc.) and interpret them as if they have a Calvinist filter that leads them to interpret every text so that it lines up with the Calvinist system. If you question these folks further on their “interpretations” you find they really don’t know nor do they take seriously the contexts of these texts (a dead giveaway of “proof texting” is when the context is ignored and something is read in which does not fit the actual context at all: e.g. Romans 9-11 functions as a unit discussing the issue of why so many first century Jews were rejecting the gospel message that the apostle Paul was proclaiming if it was true, had God’s Word then failed? So Paul discusses Jewish history in the early verses and repeats the objections of ***Jewish objectors*** in the middle of the chapter, the same objections he had already brought up in Romans 3, yet you never see Calvinists discussing how Romans 3 and Romans 9 are discussing the same objections, of first century Jews, not folks objecting to the Calvinistic concept of unconditional election).”

        Thanks Robert. As usual you explain it better than I can. It gets a bit old. The same passages over and over to “prove” Calvinism when the truth is they read them through another lens. They come with the “answers” and we shampoo, rinse, repeat. It is as if they have come out of indoctrination centers and know nothing else but the machine gun proof texts.

        Of course these arguments work well within their venues/bubbles but they really ought to get out more. :o) Then they might get it that not everyone interprets scripture through such a strict determinist God paradigm.

        Oh,you forgot Psalms. :o)

        Joshua Duncan

        “It is highly doubtful that you were “using the same arguments as Paul’s objector” since His objector was a ****first century Jewish person*****.”

        Robert, the argument I used to use was that God didn’t have a right to judge me unless I had decided, in a position of autonomy he could have no influence over, to either believe or not believe. That is the same argument as “One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?”

        To argue, as you did, that those aren’t the same arguments because the speaker was a first century Jewish person raises a lot of questions over the consistency of your own position. In the first place, it’s not an actual first century Jewish person but a hypothetical objector Paul present. Second, if you apply that principle consistently, how can any situation in the Bible, say the Corinthian man who was commuting incest with his mother-in-law, apply to you since that was about a Jewish person in the first century?

        It seems to me that, in your zeal to refute Calvinism, you are making arguments that would make no sense if applied to any other situation where we are trying to find present-day application for books which were written across centuries, with the most recent ones being about 2000 years old.

          Robert

          Josh,

          “Robert, the argument I used to use was that God didn’t have a right to judge me unless I had decided, in a position of autonomy he could have no influence over, to either believe or not believe. That is the same argument as “One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?””

          Actually it is not the same argument at all.

          Paul says nothing in those verses about God not having the right to judge unless the person is “in a position of autonomy”. The word “autonomy” is not present nor is the concept of autonomy. As I said before, Paul brought these objections up earlier in Romans (specifically Romans 3, which is why we also know these are objections by a first century Jewish objector). In Romans 3 he says nothing about “autonomy” or that God cannot judge unless the person was “in a position of autonomy.”

          “To argue, as you did, that those aren’t the same arguments because the speaker was a first century Jewish person raises a lot of questions over the consistency of your own position. In the first place, it’s not an actual first century Jewish person but a hypothetical objector Paul present.”

          You need to re-check the scholarly commentaries, the book of Romans scholars recognize that Paul while not addressing a specific individual who uttered those objections: he nevertheless is quoting objections that he had been hearing as he was evangelizing and presenting the gospel. To use an analogy, I sometimes will bring up typical objections that I have heard when giving a message or doing a Bible study or even sharing one on one with a person. I may not be quoting some objector word for word or referring to a specific individual, I am nevertheless bringing up common objections that come up when you frequently evangelize. A classic example is the objection: “if God is good then why is there evil in the world?” This is often brought up by atheists as an attack against Christianity. I don’t have to quote a specific atheist to present this objection, I can say “atheists often will attack Christianity by asking if God is good then why is there evil in the world?” Paul does the same thing in Romans 3 and in Romans 9, he brings up typical objections that he has been hearing when sharing the gospel. So your claim that “it’s not an actual first century Jewish person but a hypothetical objector” is wrong.

          “Second, if you apply that principle consistently, how can any situation in the Bible, say the Corinthian man who was commuting incest with his mother-in-law, apply to you since that was about a Jewish person in the first century?”
          You are ***changing the subject now***.

          My argument was not that since it happened in the first century, therefore it has no application today.

          No, my argument was that if you are going to properly interpret the Biblical texts you need to seriously engage and be aware of the first century context (e.g. with Romans 9 that it is not a generic message about unconditional election or Paul’s opportunity to discuss unconditional election and reprobation, but INSTEAD the first century context is that many Jews were not accepting Paul’s gospel message, so a natural question arises, if what you are saying Paul is true, then why are so many first century Jews rejecting your message? Paul answers this question in the Romans 9-11 section of Romans. Paul is not answering questions about unconditional election in Romans 9-11 he **is** answering the question: has God’s Word failed? Which in that FIRST CENTURY CONTEXT is dealing with Jewish unbelief)

          “It seems to me that, in your zeal to refute Calvinism, you are making arguments that would make no sense if applied to any other situation where we are trying to find present-day application for books which were written across centuries, with the most recent ones being about 2000 years old.”

          Romans 9 and Romans 10 and Romans 11 have plenty of twentieth century APPLICATIONS.

          But as any good Bible interpreter will tell you regarding New Testament texts: you START with proper exegesis of the text in its first century context, then you derive APPLICATIONS only after you have interpreted the text correctly. Applications are always subsequent to the proper exegesis of the text.

          What you and other Calvinists have done, (and it is a major mistake in the interpretation of Romans 9). Is that you ignore the first century context, read in your concept of unconditional election and THEN interpret the text by your unconditional election concept rather than the first century context.

        Andy

        You can start here…You may not agree with what he writes, but it IS (for the most part) free of calvinism attacks, and a helpful addition to the conversation.

        http://sbctoday.wpengine.com/line-by-line-through-romans-9-part-one/

        http://sbctoday.wpengine.com/line-by-line-through-romans-9-part-two/

      Lydia

      “I did read the whole Book of Romans. Once as a high school student when I was speed reading for school, back when I rejected the notion of predestination entirely, then again in college when I was taking ceramics and wanted to find a Bible passage about God as potter. When I looked up and read Romans 9 I was expecting some sort of sweet self-esteem boost about how God is an artist and we are his creations, but when I read Paul’s arguments, I went and reread the whole book of Romans before concluding that it was indeed speaking to my presuppositions. I was the one using the same arguments as Paul’s objector.”

      Did you do any homework on the ancient process of pottery making to better understand it from the ancient pov? It is quite the eye opener.

        Joshua Duncan

        Given that the pots are connected with the infants Jacob and Esau in Paul’s argument, and the nature of Paul’s objector saying “Why does God blame us?” it seems the context of Romans does an adequate job suggesting that individuals are in view.

        I am happy to read anything that would provide me relevant context on the time of the Biblical authors, so if you could refer me to your source on ancient pottery which you believe is relevant to this discussion, I promise I will go read it.

          Lydia

          “I am happy to read anything that would provide me relevant context on the time of the Biblical authors, so if you could refer me to your source on ancient pottery which you believe is relevant to this discussion, I promise I will go read it.”

          Josh, I would love to but I am old and it was pre internet and from Archeological type of sources. It is worth your while, I promise to dig into it. It is amazing how often the “potter” had to throw out his work and start over for reasons of the type of clay/mud variations that did not work well in molding, etc. This fits with Jeremiah 18. The Lord showed Jeremiah, a potter, who was working on a vessel that didn’t turn out right. So the potter revised his plan and formed a different kind of pot out of it. IOW, God has the right to change his mind about plans for Israel if they repent. Again: If they repent. Their responsibility. Their “ability” to do so is implied. Anything else makes God into a cruel marionette master.

          I believe the question Paul is addressing in Romans 9 is a question of God’s faithfulness to Israel as a nation and the how God makes some his covenant partner. It has nothing whatsoever to do with how God elects individuals to salvation. I think we go way off the rails into a cruel hateful God territory when we try to make Romans about individual election. There is some interesting cultural context about why this issue would be so important to the Roman church at the time….mainly the banished Jews coming back to Rome some of which were believers. We can imagine how that might have caused some havoc with the Roman believers as it has in other places, too.

          Paul is saying that it shouldn’t be shocking to Jews if God now chooses to enter into a covenant with Gentiles simply on the basis of their faith. I think the mention of Esau and Jacob represents “nations” and not individual salvation.

          I sincerely hope that we can point to Jesus Christ, his words, his actions here as a full representation of Yahweh.

            Steven

            The only ones of Israel that come to a saving faith in Jesus Christ will be saved.

              Steven

              Ephesians 1:12-14
              so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, 31 would be to the praise of his glory. 1:13 And when YOU heard the word of truth (the gospel of your salvation) – when YOU believed in Christ – YOU were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit, 1:14 who is the down payment of our inheritance, until the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of his glory.

              Follow the pronouns, appears to be an individual effectual calling.

                Lydia

                “Follow the pronouns, appears to be an individual effectual calling”

                Romans was the topic. And besides I do individual “response” because I believe we are able to respond or not to a “calling”..

              Lydia

              “The only ones of Israel that come to a saving faith in Jesus Christ will be saved.”

              I am aware of that but not sure of your point as it relates to my previous comment.

      Lydia

      “I did read the whole Book of Romans. Once as a high school student when I was speed reading for school, back when I rejected the notion of predestination entirely, then again in college when I was taking ceramics and wanted to find a Bible passage about God as potter. When I looked up and read Romans 9 I was expecting some sort of sweet self-esteem boost about how God is an artist and we are his creations, but when I read Paul’s arguments, I went and reread the whole book of Romans before concluding that it was indeed speaking to my presuppositions. I was the one using the same arguments as Paul’s objector.”

      Joshua, Did you do your homework on the ancient process of pottery making to understand it from the ancients pov? It is quite an eye opener.

Ken Temple

God’s Sovereignty in Election movitivates Evangelism and Missions

http://beggarsallreformation.blogspot.com/2011/03/gods-sovereignty-in-election-motivates.html

    Andy

    Uh, oh…I’ve heard people say that the reality of lostness and the need to tell people about Jesus so they have a chance to accept him ALSO motivates missions…

    I guess this debate will have to keep going on! :-)

lydia

“Actually, in my scenario, I did not say how old the child was, or whether wthey had a choice in the matter or not…It works both ways in our world, usually based on the age of the child. You are making assumptions.”

Andy, now I am really confused. How are you defining “son”? It is a metaphorical descriptor people of that time could relate to. What slave or female inherits as an adopted ” son”.

I will cut to the chase. In order to be adopted we need to respond affirmatively. You are trying to convince us that we are adopted forcebly and Galatians can be read that way. But can Jesus be read that way? Let’s read Paul through a Jesus filter.

    Andy

    LYDIA: “How are you defining “son”? It is a metaphorical descriptor people of that time could relate to.”

    ANDREW: “Neither is using modern adoption a helpful picture because it doesn’t work the same way as the adoption Paul is referring to.”

    –> Apparently you guys are privy to some extra-biblical knowledge that I am lacking. Could you please enligten us on the true nature of what ADOPTION and being SON means in a 1st century context? If Adopted means something different than making someone your child who was not previously your child… and son even has a different meaning than how we use it today, I’m not sure if we an even be having this conversation.

      Andrew Barker

      Andy: The information on adoption is actually quite difficult to dig up on the Internet. However, I’ve sorted this link for you http://www.originsnsw.com/fathers/id2.html
      It actually covers a whole lot more than we’ve been discussing. Pertinent section is under Paul and adoptionism. (new word on me)

      Briefly: huiothesia greek word for father conferring privileges on a naturally born son. You need to be in the position of being a son to be adopted hence John 1:12 the right to be children of God which links with your Gal 4 passage. Adoption is therefore a higher privilege than just sonship but it is a deferred benefit.

        Andy

        FROM YOUR LINKED ARTICLE:

        (DEFINITION) – “Adoption: Greek: huiothesia. Noun, a compound noun from ‘huio’, a son and ‘thesia’ a placing, thus meaning adoption. The word was a legal technical term for a father’s declaration that his natural born child was officially a son or daughter, with all the rights and privileges that this included.”

        (2 OTHER QUOTES THAT I FOUND VERY HELPFUL) –
        “The Bible is a story about a Father. A Father who had children. And these children were stolen from him by the false father – the father of lies. And the Bible is really the story of how our true Heavenly Father pursued us at great cost to Himself, just to buy back His natural children, just so He could make a declaration of the true inheritance He has set aside for us, just to hear us call Him, “Daddy! Father!” As he truly is.”

        “The father in the parable of the Prodigal Son is the picture Jesus gave us, of the Heavenly Father’s pain and suffering over his lost children. The parable of the lost sheep is another, where the shepherd leaves those sheep which are safe in the flock, to find that one lost sheep.”

        1. This writer does contribute something helpful here. It reminds us that we are not, in fact, total aliens being made part of God’s earth family, but are in fact God’s created children, created to be with him and know him as a father…but that our sin removed us from that privileged place.

        2. However, the fact that God is “re-adopting” (or whatever you want to call it) his “natural” children does not discount anything I have said about adoption occurring at conversion. In fact this definition supports that understanding: If adoption is the legal declaration of official sonship…then even that itself doesn’t mean the inheritance is his right away. The adopted son IS AN HEIR, even though he doesn’t have the inheritance yet. Such a son might say “I’ve been adopted!” …He would likely not say, “I will be adopted someday!”

          Andrew Barker

          Andy: I see we are reaching some sort of agreement here. Adoption is a deferred benefit! Whether or not you choose to apply the tag to the status or the benefit then becomes less important so long as it is kept in mind.

          This is why Paul talks about being predestined to adoption. All God’s sons (and daughters) have this guarantee.

        Bill Mac

        There is a lot of stuff in that article but I would take it with a large grain of salt. The clear goal of the article (and the organization it is written for) is the renunciation of newborn adoption. The organization lists some abuses of modern adoption which are no doubt real, but it throws a very large baby out with the bathwater. Strongs gives 3 definitions of adoption: Of Israel, of new believers as children of God, and of the future state. Romans says we have been grafted onto the vine. That sounds like adoption to me.

        We who believe have already been adopted. We are children of God right now.

      Lydia

      ” Apparently you guys are privy to some extra-biblical knowledge that I am lacking. Could you please enligten us on the true nature of what ADOPTION and being SON means in a 1st century context?”

      A daughter did not inherit. A slave did not inherit. Only a “son” inherited. But in Christ…there is no slave/free, etc So we believers are “sons”. A 1st Century person would understand this better than we can. I am also not saying these were hard rules but typical of the paterfamilias of 1st Century Roman household codes. The Jews were similar which is why Jesus is called a Son. In the Hebrew world, doing business with the ‘son’ was like doing business with the father. The sons representation of the Father was the same as doing business with the father himself. In John 5, the religious leaders wanted to kill Jesus for just this.

      We tend to overcomplicate everything because we leave out cultural context. For Calvinists, Christianity started in the 16th Century

        Andrew Barker

        Lydia: I see that ‘apparently’ you do have some extra-biblical knowledge! ;-) Thanks for sharing. This is what I would call context. It’s not scripture as such so we hold it more lightly, but it does help to give sense to passages which otherwise might be misread.

        I am amazed at how badly this topic of adoption is treated in the literature. I scanned through Packer just to see what he said. He does a complete fudge on Rom 8:23 Either he can’t see it or he understands completely and realises it drives a coach and horses through one of Reformed theology’s key points. I’ll leave you to decide :)

Andy

ANDREW: “Rom 8:23 however links our adoption as sons with the redemption of our bodies. It therefore becomes untenable to hold that we are now ‘adopted’ and also that we are predestined to be sons!! Predestination is all about God’s guarantee that all who come to faith (sons) will in fact receive their inheritance.”

–> It is possible to see Roman 8:23 as simply the completion of all the benefits of adoption. Is it “untenable” for me, as a saved person, to also say that “I shall be saved”?

–> Also, to clarify, are you saying that you, me, are RIGHT NOW sons of God, children of God, who previously were NOT his children…but now we are…but we have not yet been adopted? Is that an accurate description of what you are saying?

ANDREW: “I think the word heir implies exactly that ….. waiting! Heir apparent, the person who is waiting to inherit? Yes, NO?”

–> You keep equating adoption with inheritance. So, yes, I agree completely with your sentance above…However, a non-biological son who is an heir, is NOT waiting for adoption…that has already happened. He’s simply waiting for the inheritance…in fact if he had not yet been adopted, he would not be an heir.

Andy

FINALLY, in order to get back to the primary point at which this debate started:…

ANDREW: “It doesn’t require a belief in Calvinism, nor should it be argued that way.”
LYDIA: “You are trying to convince us that we are adopted forcebly and Galatians can be read that way.”

Actually, I agree with Andrew. it doesn’t REQUIRE a belief in calvinism…I haven’t said that it does. What I have argued is that it is ONE PLAUSIBLE explanation of the texts given, one that some people might see upon reading those texts…even WITHOUT a background in augustinian or calvinistic thought…. SO…we should not castigate those who say they came to those conclusions by reading the bible. We should not question their honesty.

*I am trying to convince you that a person COULD read Ephesians and Galatians and conclude that we have already been adopted, and so Ephesians must mean that God chose and predestined us to be adopted.

**I also believe it is entirely plausible to accept that we as Christians have already been adopted, and still totally reject Calvinism, simply by saying that Ephesians 1 does mean that God predestined to adopt all who believe in him…but that he does it at conversion.

***What I don’t see, is how one can read Galatians, and the myriad of other scriptures calling us God’s sons, children, his people,…and still hold that we have not already been ADOPTED by god, even though we still await the final culmination and realization of that adoption.

    Andrew Barker

    Andy: “I am trying to convince you that a person COULD read Ephesians and Galatians and conclude that we have already been adopted, and so Ephesians must mean that God chose and predestined us to be adopted.”

    Well, Andy you’re misquoting scripture slightly again because you won’t find a single scripture that simply says that ‘God chose us’. You would be forgiven for this mistake, given the amount of time and effort Calvinists spend in trying to convince us that this is actually the case. But they can’t come up with a single verse which says this. Primarily because there isn’t one. Each time scripture uses this phrase it is always qualified, normally by the addition of in Him. So the verse in Eph 1:4 says he chose us in Him. Now if you think that this doesn’t make any difference, you’re welcome to your opinion but the fact is it does make a world of difference and this is at the heart of the debate regarding God’s choice.

    You will also have to redefine what you mean by adoption because as I understand it, Paul is talking about actually coming into our inheritance ie not a future event. Hence the reason why Rom 8 refers to the spirit of adoption. It’s a guaranteed thing but not actually realised in this life. Rom 8:24-25 confirms that we don’t hope for what we already have. So, please explain why the Christian still has hope, when in fact he shouldn’t have hope if he’s already received his inheritance?

    As for being convinced regarding predestination and adoption by reading passages from Ephesians and Galatians, if a person is that easily convinced or satisfied, yes I guess they will arrive at those sort of conclusions. It’s hardly an example to follow though is it!

      Andy

      1. Sorry, I used “God” instead of “He”. Hardly misquoting when I wasn’t aiming at exact quotation.

      2. FYI, Calvinists do not dismiss the “IN HIM” part. They simply understand it differently than you.

      3. Paul says “we shall be saved by his life.” Should I have hope of a future final salvation? Or should I dispense with hope because I have already been saved? It’s not either-or…it’s both. Galatians 4:4-7 line of thought is this: (v.4-5) God sent his son so those under the law might be redeemed, and receive adoption as sons. (v6-7) You are sons! (now!) No longer a slave, but a son & heir! So God sent his son so we could recieve adoption as sons…then he says we ARE sons now. Please show me from Galatians what I am missing here…and why you would say we have received: (1) redemption, (2) sonship, (3) freedom from slavery to the law…BUT NOT ADOPTION.

      4. AGAIN – –> To clarify, are you saying that you, me, are RIGHT NOW sons of God, children of God, who previously were NOT his children…but now we are…but we have not yet been adopted? Is that an accurate description of what you are saying? God has made me his child, but has not adopted me, correct?

        Andrew Barker

        Andy: Thanks for your answers. Some of my comments may sound rather ‘picky’ but that’s not my intention.

        1. The reason I pointed out that there is no place where scripture says God chose us is simply because …. there is no example of this phrase being used. If you can find one, please let me know. That’s a serious comment, not sword play.

        2. Calvinists DO dismiss ‘in Him’. This phrase is almost totally ignored. It is frequently translated as into Him. That’s how Calvinism/Reformed theology works. God chooses his elect and they are placed into Him at conversion. The elect cannot be in Him from before the foundation of the world, because that means they are and always have been saved. That however, is a problem for Reformed/Calvinistic theology and no doubt some will come up with different explanations as to how this problem is resolved!

        I note that you don’t actually provide how they ‘understand’ it. Perhaps you would do this, but I’ve never seen a serious explanation on this phrase which holds water.

        3. If you want to hang everything on the verse in Galatians you’re welcome but it doesn’t change the fact that in Rom 8:23 adoption is something we are waiting for. Can’t really see why this is a problem either. Apart from the fact that, since adoption is something we’re waiting for i.e. we are predestined for adoption that also makes it clear that predestination is not connected with becoming a son but that all sons (and daughters) of God are guaranteed their inheritance. So it’s only a problem for those who believe in unconditional election where God chooses his elect.

        4. Yes, Rom 8:23-25 adoption is something all children of God are eagerly awaiting in hope for something which we cannot now see, but we are assured of.

        By the way, adoption is never a forced issue. Lydia was explaining that your explanation involves an enforced adoption process where the children have no say in the matter. This is again predestination being wrongly applied. If you believe predestination is about God choosing his sons, then yes that is tantamount to saying that adoption is a forced process.

    Robert

    Andy,

    Your posts on this subject are confused and mistaken because you are neglecting the first century meaning of “adoption” and so missing what the NT means when the expression “adoption” is used. It is a metaphor that first century folks would have been very familiar with. It meant that the adopted son had the same legal rights and was just as much a part of the family as the biological son. So it speaks about equal treatment within the family.

    This concept becomes especially important because in the first century there was friction between Jews and Gentiles and the issue constantly and repeatedly came up about the status of Gentiles in the family of God. Were they equal to Jews who had been from the chosen nation? Were Gentiles to be under the law if they became Christians? Were Jews and Gentiles equal in the family of God? Etc. etc. It is because these kinds of questions were current and flowing that NT writers sometimes used the “adoption” metaphor when speaking of people coming to faith in Christ.

    It has ****no reference to election by God in eternity***** (either individual or corporate) and is focusing on equal treatment within the same family. This would have been crucial for Paul and others who evangelized Gentiles and saw them coming to faith in Christ. With these things in mind we can look at your comments and see why they are confused and off base:

    [[“What I have argued is that it is ONE PLAUSIBLE explanation of the texts given, one that some people might see upon reading those texts…even WITHOUT a background in augustinian or calvinistic thought…. SO…we should not castigate those who say they came to those conclusions by reading the bible. We should not question their honesty.”]]

    We should not question their honesty, we should however question their interpretation of the adoption texts if they are not interpreting it according to the first century context which I briefly described above.

    “*I am trying to convince you that a person COULD read Ephesians and Galatians and conclude that we have already been adopted, and so Ephesians must mean that God chose and predestined us to be adopted.”

    Adoption in the first century meaning had ***no reference to predestination*** at all, so your statement here is false and off base.

    In Ephesians one of the major issues that Paul is dealing with is the salvation of Gentiles and how they fit into the family of God (hence the useful metaphor of “adoption” that they were equal in Christ, note that Paul speaks of equality in Christ in the famous Gal. 2:28 verse “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”).

    There are lots of references to this in Ephesians but I will only mention one as an example. Eph. 2:19-22 “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are God’s household having been built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together is growing into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.” Notice that Paul is mixing multiple metaphors here to make the point that Gentiles are equal in the family of God with Jews: no longer strangers and aliens, fellow citizens, God’s house, a building, a holy temple. All of these metaphors are pointing to equality in the family of God, just as the adoption metaphor does as well.

    “**I also believe it is entirely plausible to accept that we as Christians have already been adopted, and still totally reject Calvinism, simply by saying that Ephesians 1 does mean that God predestined to adopt all who believe in him…but that he does it at conversion.”

    Adoption has to occur at conversion because we are not part of the family of God until we are saved. John 1:12 “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.” How do we receive Him? By faith. So faith precedes being adopted, comes before we are part of the family of God. We are not born into the family of God at our physical birth, but when we have faith: “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:26).

      Andy

      ROBERT: “you are neglecting the first century meaning of “adoption”….”It meant that the adopted son had the same legal rights and was just as much a part of the family as the biological son.”

      –>Correct me if I’m missing something here, but is that not the exact same meaning that we have today? What’s the difference, and how am I mis-using it. We were not God’s children, but after adoption, we are, with all the rights that go along with it.

      ROBERT: “Adoption in the first century meaning had ***no reference to predestination*** at all, so your statement here is false and off base.”

      –>Of course it didn’t, that’s not the point…the point is that Paul DOES link them in Eph. 1. So we have to deal with it. Cals deal one way, non-cals deal another way. No one is arguing that the 1st century person would have seen the word “adoption” and immediately jumped to “predestination”, but Paul says we were predestined for adoption.

      If Paul says that, and as YOU & HOBBS agree: adoption happens at conversion….how is it false and off base to say what I said? (“A person COULD read Ephesians and Galatians and conclude that we have already been adopted, and so Ephesians must mean that God chose and predestined us to be adopted.”)

      Are you saying it is false because there is no possibility of a person understanding it that way? What about my statement is false?
      (If, however, you simply mean that THAT PERSON’S interpretation would be incorrect, then just say that).

      -andy

      Steven

      Since all Scripture, Old and New Testament is God breathed, why do so many whose idol is autonomous freewill, only quote a partial verse, purposely leaving off the source of our ability to receive him
      John 1:12 and 1:13 is the complete verse. John 1:12 is followed by a comma
      .
      John 1:12-13 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name,
      who were born, not of blood NOR OF THE WILL OF THE FLESH OR THE WILL OF MAN, but of GOD..

      It is not Honoring to God when His Word is chopped up to suit the tradition of man.
      John 1:13 is how we receive him, and saving faith comes at regeneration.

        Robert

        Steven,

        Your post is extremely confused and mistaken. I cited 1 John 1:12 merely to establish the timing of when we are “adopted” into the family of God (i.e. it is when we receive Him and we receive him by faith, so when we have saving faith THAT is when we become members of the family of God).

        You took my simple point on the timing and turned it into your attempt at presenting Calvinist propaganda/the false doctrine that regeneration precedes faith (which is not what I was talking about at all).

        [[“Since all Scripture, Old and New Testament is God breathed, why do so many whose idol is autonomous freewill, only quote a partial verse, purposely leaving off the source of our ability to receive him
        John 1:12 and 1:13 is the complete verse. John 1:12 is followed by a comma
        .
        John 1:12-13 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name,
        who were born, not of blood NOR OF THE WILL OF THE FLESH OR THE WILL OF MAN, but of GOD..”]]

        I said nothing about free will nor did I say that we should worship free will as an idol: so your words here are just a misguided Calvinist attack that non-Calvinists worship free will (when we do not, if we worship free will we are not Christians, if we worship any idol we are not Christians).

        And for your information v. 13 SAYS NOTHING about “the source of our ability to receive him”.

        V. 12 says that we become children of God when we receive Him.

        V. 13 says that our being regenerated is an action done by God not by man.

        The chronology according to these verses is that a person receives Him (i.e. believes) and that such a person is then regenerated by God. First faith, then regeneration. Only by totally ignoring the verses and the chronology presented by the verses can someone argue that regeneration precedes and causes or produces faith (that is not stated in the verse anywhere, I know the Greek and it is not there, it can only be found there if someone like you **reads it into**/eisegetes it into those verses).

        “It is not Honoring to God when His Word is chopped up to suit the tradition of man.”

        You are the one chopping up these verses to suit your man made tradition (i.e. the man made false doctrine of Calvinists such as yourself that regeneration precedes faith).

        “John 1:13 is how we receive him, and saving faith comes at regeneration.”

        This is one of the most off base and wrong statements that I have ever seen regarding a Bible verse.

        V. 13 does not say anything about HOW we receive him.

        V. 13 is focused on regeneration and says as clearly as can be said that regeneration is an act of God alone, that man cannot do it. Telling us that regeneration is a unilateral act of God however, tells us nothing about how we receive Him.

        Actually we need not go far to see HOW we receive Him as it is explicitly stated by John in v. 12:

        John 1:12-13 “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to THOSE WHO BELIEVE IN HIS NAME”

        v. 12 defines what it is to “receive Him” it is to “believe in His name” (i.e. we receive Him by faith).

        You completely ignore what the verse actually presents in order to present your false doctrine that regeneration precedes and produces faith (nothing is said ANYWHERE in v. 12-13 about regeneration causing or producing or preceding faith).

        From comparing v. 12 with other scripture we conclude that we receive Him by faith. There is no scripture anywhere in the NT, not even close, that says “we receive Him by regeneration” or that “justification is through regeneration”. The uniform and repeated declaration in the NT is that justification is through faith.

        You need to stop reading things into Bible verses that are not there at all, in doing so you are negating its simplicity (V. 12 is simple, we become children of God when we receive Him and we receive Him by faith).

          Andy

          “Steven, Your post is extremely confused and mistaken.”

          HA! Robert says I’m confused and mistaken too! :-)

            Robert

            Andy,
            I used to work in counter cult ministry and so I am very aware of correct Bible interpretation methodology and have seen many “confused and mistaken” interpretations of scripture. Because I take the correct interpretation of the Bible very seriously (having literally seen how its abuse and misuse can destroy people’s lives and lead them away from God, whether it involves following a guru or following a group of cult leaders such as the WatchTower, etc. etc.) I do not find “confused and mistaken” interpretations to be funny at all. I understand that you are trying to be humorous here, but I find it hard to joke about incorrect interpretations because of my past experience.

          Steven

          Robert says, “Your post is extremely confused and mistaken.” I cited 1 John 1:12 merely to establish the timing of when we are “adopted” into the family of God (i.e. it is when we receive Him and we receive him by faith, so when we have saving faith THAT is when we become members of the family of God).
          Even though the immediate context of John 1:12 is regeneration prior to faith.

          Look elsewhere to reconcile this statement.
          John 3:3-8
          “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

          Romans 3:10,11
          “There is no one righteous, not even one, there is no one who understands,
          there is no one who seeks God.

          John 6:63-65
          “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”

          “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”

          Why would Robert leave off the rest of the declaration here made by the Apostle John? It is a case of proof texting, purposely leaving off how we come to faith in Jesus Christ. Here Robert is confusing and mistaking regeneration and justification.
          Robert is reading a verse in isolation and building a theology around it without looking at the immediate context.
          The context is found in John 1:13 does this by asserting that this gift does not come about by the will of man but through the new birth or regeneration.

          This is the whole verse in context:
          “He [Jesus] came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1: 11-13)

          We all believe the gospel unto the adoption of God’s children because of the grace of God in regeneration, not because man exercised his unregenerate will.
          At the same time God gives us a new spiritual heart, we understand and love Jesus Christ and spiritual truth. As soon as He grants us spiritual eyes, we see. No one can believe in Jesus unless God grants it John 6:65
          and all to whom God grants it, will believe John 6:37.

          Ezekiel 26:36
          “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
          Soli Deo Gloria

          Steven

          Robert says, I said nothing about free will nor did I say that we should worship free will as an idol: so your words here are just a misguided Calvinist attack that non-Calvinists worship free will (when we do not, if we worship free will we are not Christians, if we worship any idol we are not Christians).

          This statement is made by Roman catholics whom deny worshiping Mary, yet they pray(ask) Mary and deceased saints for all kinds of needs.Just go to http://www.topics.com and hear for yourself.

          Robert says,
          And for your information v. 13 SAYS NOTHING about “the source of our ability to receive him”.
          V. 12 says that we become children of God when we receive Him.
          V. 13 says that our being regenerated is an action done by God not by man.
          The chronology according to these verses is that a person receives Him (i.e. believes) and that such a person is then regenerated by God. First faith, then regeneration. Only by totally ignoring the verses and the chronology presented by the verses can someone argue that regeneration precedes and causes or produces faith (that is not stated in the verse anywhere, I know the Greek and it is not there, it can only be found there if someone like you **reads it into**/eisegetes it into those verses).

          Robert, if v.13 says nothing about ” the source of our ability to receive him, then your defense for regeneration is invalid, from your own words.
          The biblical truth is that Justification and adoption come from God, and this is the context. This cancels your belief that regeneration follows your unregenerate faith. Please provide other Scripture to validate your pre regenerative faith.
          Also if you would provide the biblical scholars and exegetes that back up your presuppositions. Thank you very much.

          Next, if you know Greek as you say, then why do you place a word that is not of the Greek language when you quote John 1:2, EVEN is not found in Greek. The verse reads, to those who believe in His name. Not, even to those who believe in His name, despite what the translations say. Just checking your Greek credentials you claim.
          Let us go to Scripture and see if your theology based on synergism is bilblically consistent.
          So far your knowledge of context for John 1:12,13 is found lacking.

          Robert says,
          This is one of the most off base and wrong statements that I have ever seen regarding a Bible verse.
          V. 13 does not say anything about HOW we receive him.
          V. 13 is focused on regeneration and says as clearly as can be said that regeneration is an act of God alone, that man cannot do it. Telling us that regeneration is a unilateral act of God however, tells us nothing about how we receive Him.
          Actually we need not go far to see HOW we receive Him as it is explicitly stated by John in v. 12:
          John 1:12-13 “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to THOSE WHO BELIEVE IN HIS NAME”

          Just a note, there is that use of, EVEN, not found in early Greek manuscripts.

          Now, what you are saying repeatedly is that our source of faith, IS NOT from a new heart and renewed spirit given to us regeneration, then where does this regenerative faith come from? What Scripture reconciles this presupposition?
          Are they consistent with other biblical texts relating to this subject. Why are you not providing Scripture, you need to walk us through the text if you are going to make these claims.

          Robert says,
          From comparing v. 12 with other scripture we conclude that we receive Him by faith. There is no scripture anywhere in the NT, not even close, that says “we receive Him by regeneration” or that “justification is through regeneration”. The uniform and repeated declaration in the NT is that justification is through faith.
          You need to stop reading things into Bible verses that are not there at all, in doing so you are negating its simplicity (V. 12 is simple, we become children of God when we receive Him and we receive Him by faith).

          It is imperative as Christians, that we preach the whole counsel of God, and not merely half a verse.
          Romans 8:30 gives us the timeline for the power of God in salvation.

          Rom 8:30
          and whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.

          Sermon by Charles Hadley Spurgeon

    Les

    Andy,

    Others may and indeed do have unusual views on adoption. But do note here on this site dedicated to the Hobbs/Rogers tradition that Adrian Rogers said in his outline when preaching from Romans 8:26-28:

    “When we are saved, we are born into the family of God spiritually and adopted into the family of God legally; and the spirit of adoption means that we are heirs of God.
    Once we are adopted into the family of God, He places His Holy Spirit within us, and the Holy Spirit in us loves the Father.
    It is normal and natural to pray when we are Spirit-filled.”

    Just sayin’ and I would have thought by now some of the Hobbs/Rogers persuasion would have chimed in to make note of this.

      Scott Shaver

      Just sayin:

      Perhaps shows how little a Presbyterian actually understands about the mindset/convictions of a bonafide “Southern Baptist”.

    Les

    BTW Andy, Packer has an excellent piece on adoption here http://www.munichurch.de/sermons/2010-06-06_Packer%20on%20Adopted%20Sons.pdf (Chapter 19 from Knowing God)

Andy

ANDREW: “Briefly: huiothesia greek word for father conferring privileges on a naturally born son. You need to be in the position of being a son to be adopted hence John 1:12 the right to be children of God which links with your Gal 4 passage. Adoption is therefore a higher privilege than just sonship but it is a deferred benefit.”

ROBERT: “It meant that the adopted son had the same legal rights and was just as much a part of the family as the biological son. So it speaks about equal treatment within the family.”

ROBERT: “Were Jews and Gentiles equal in the family of God? Etc. etc. It is because these kinds of questions were current and flowing that NT writers sometimes used the “adoption” metaphor when speaking of people coming to faith in Christ.”

ROBERT: “Adoption has to occur at conversion because we are not part of the family of God until we are saved.”

HOBBS: “When we are saved, we are born into the family of God spiritually and adopted into the family of God legally.”

Just to clarify Robert, It seems that you, and Hobbs, both agree with me that a saved Christian HAS ALREADY BEEN adopted by God, correct? It is only Andrew and Lydia that disagree on that point?

Your argument is simply that Predestined for adoption DOES NOT MEAN predestined for salvation?

Thanks for the clarification…
-ANDY

    Robert

    Andy,

    “Just to clarify Robert, It seems that you, and Hobbs, both agree with me that a saved Christian HAS ALREADY BEEN adopted by God, correct?”

    We become part of the family when we are saved. Before we were enemies of God and the wrath of God was upon us. Only when we come to saving faith (which includes trusting in Jesus alone to save us, repentance from our past sinful lifestyle, and following Jesus as Lord) does God then place us in the family of God. Once we are placed in the family of God we have equal status whether we are Jews or Gentiles (which would have been a major issue in the first century, an affront to many first century Jews as they believed that only they could be the family of God).

    Andy you have to emphasize the first century context (the negative relationship between Jews and Gentiles, the belief of Jews that they alone were the chosen people, they alone were the family of God) or you miss why the NT writers were using the adoption metaphor when speaking of the salvation of believers.

    “Your argument is simply that Predestined for adoption DOES NOT MEAN predestined for salvation?”

    Right, adoption in the first century had nothing to do with predestination to salvation of individuals (and hence nothing to do with unconditional election). It had to do with equal status, being part of the family of God. In Ephesians Paul brings it up and ties it to salvation as he is dealing with a mixed church of both Jews and Gentiles and he wants to convey that in Christ, whether Jew or Gentile people had equal status and were part of the family of God.

    Andy I think that you may be missing that Ephesians 1:-3-14 in the Greek is one long sentence (in other words, Paul is tying together multiple elements regarding our salvation when he speaks of salvation in Ephesians 1, one of these elements being “adoption” into the family of God). He begins this single sentence with “who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ”. So the key is what does it mean to be “in Christ”? It includes that you were **chosen in Him** (which I take to be reference to a corporate election); that you were chosen to be holy and blameless (which I take to be a reference to the sanctification element of our salvation); predestined to be adoption into the family of God (note it does not say predestined to salvation, it says predestined to be adopted into the family of God, this is a reference to our becoming believers to the beginning of our spiritual life); we have redemption through His blood; the forgiveness of our trespasses; having the mystery of His will made known to us (which is salvation through Jesus alone); etc. To use an analogy: Andy say that you and your wife joined a health club and there was a statement of benefits that would be true of you as members (that is sort of like what Ephesians 1 is presenting, the benefits for the believer of being “in Christ”, benefits that Paul will elaborate on as he continues in Ephesians that are available to all who are “in Christ” whether they are Jews or Gentiles, which again in the first century context would have been striking and revolutionary).

    Andrew Barker

    ROBERT: “Adoption has to occur at conversion because we are not part of the family of God until we are saved.”
    HOBBS: “When we are saved, we are born into the family of God spiritually and adopted into the family of God legally.”

    This is where Hobbs I believe is wrong. I haven’t read Hobbs on this, so I’m just taking you at your word that this is what he says. He may qualify it later on, but as it stands his statement actually devalues adoption. Adoption is a stage further on from sonship. When we are saved we become children of God. That is a right we are given. But further than this, there is the matter of inheritance. We are not adopted into the family at birth. This would imply that we were alive beforehand but this is not the case. There was nothing of the new ‘us’ before we were born again, spiritually speaking of course. This is why the modern concept of adoption is so unhelpful. It’s not the case that we were in one family and then we were adopted into God’s family. That just is not the case!! Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God. We need a totally new beginning.

    Being born again is a new birth for us. A true beginning, not a change of family membership. We are born anew into God’s family as sons and daughters. It is only at this point that you can start to talk about adoption. But Biblical adoption as talked about in Eph/Rom is NOT ABOUT JOINING A NEW FAMILY it is about INHERITANCE!! The difference is of course that naturally only one person normally inherits, but that’s not the case in God’s family. We are ALL PREDESTINED TO ADOPTION.

    I think I shall probably draw a line under this. It’s getting too close to being a ‘rant’ but if you can’t see it from what is conveyed here, then you just can’t or don’t want to see it :)

      Andy

      As TECHNICAL CORRECTION:

      I mis-read Les’s original quote on this topic and attributed the words to hobbs. In reality, les quoted ADRIAN ROGERS as an example of the “hobbs” tradition.

      I apologize for any confusion…It is ROgers who said adoption happens at conversion.

      Robert

      Andrew,
      I have been focusing on the initial aspect of “adoption” (i.e. when we first become part of the family of
      God). We **are** first adopted when we become believers and that is when we become part of the family of God. It seems to me that when speaking of our “inheritance” you are focusing on the latter aspect of our “adoption” (i.e. the redemption of our bodies). Both of these aspects are referred to by the “adoption” metaphor, so I don’t see it as an either/or. Rather it is a both/and, with the adoptionn metaphor referring to both aspects.

        Andrew Barker

        Robert: I can see why some refer to adoption as being both now and later BUT it depends on you define adoption. If we are predestined to adoption at conversion then we are not really adopted then are we! That’s all I’m saying. I don’t think you can be waiting for something while experiencing it one and the same time. I also cannot see why people insist that WD must be adopted now. I can only assume it’s because they see it as being part of a family. I’m not suggesting we’re not family, just that we haven’t received our full inheritance yet. :)

        Andy

        I…

        …um….

        …er…

        …uuuhhhgggg…

        …agree with Robert! :-)

        Whew! Glad I got that off my chest!

Lydia

Andy wrote:”Just to clarify Robert, It seems that you, and Hobbs, both agree with me that a saved Christian HAS ALREADY BEEN adopted by God, correct? It is only Andrew and Lydia that disagree on that point? ”

Hold on a minute a quick draw. You are starting to debate like Les.

Let me be as clear as I can which will probably be like mud. Jesus said we must repent and believe. I read everything concerning salvation/sanctification through that lens. I do not read Calvin into it as you seem to with this instant adoption business which sounds to me more like kidnapping. :o) (Remember Jesus uses all sorts of metaphors such as we are children, friends, sheep, etc. But in this scenario Paul uses “sons” to make a huge point about inheritance and that would have brought with it a gasp in the 1st Century, IMO, as it pertains to a person’s standing)

This difference is I believe we have the ability to respond. We have to respond to be adopted. I think Robert gives a better explanation concerning our “standing” as the adopted compared to how the Jews would have viewed it. Think of how tribal these folks were in their thinking. Your identity came from the womb in that world within your tribe, caste, etc. . But now there is something totally different as the ” born again” and our standing within that identity. Because we believed and repented we are predestined to be adopted with a full inheritance.

So if we repent and believe then we are predestined to be adopted as sons. That means I am a son with full inheritance even if I am a slave, female, etc, etc.. That would have been a huge biggie wow declaration in the 1st Century. Thankfully today, the metaphor is not as shocking because we have moved way beyond 1st Century thinking when it comes to inclusion, etc.

My problem with the Calvinist view is that adoption is forced. All of it is forced. Even repentance is done for them, it seems since most Calvinists believe we remain wicked.

    Les

    Can there be a better misrepresentation of the doctrine of adoption and Calvinism than this by Lydia? I think not.

      Lydia

      “Can there be a better misrepresentation of the doctrine of adoption and Calvinism than this by Lydia? I think not.”

      Thx Les, I consider that a compliment! Are the reprobates who look saved and act saved, adopted in Calvin’s ST?

      Les Prouty

      Happy to oblige Lydia. In biblical doctrine the reprobate are not adopted.

        Andrew Barker

        Ha ha ROFL Les. It’s the way you tell ’em. As if ‘reprobation’ was a Biblical doctrine. Reprobation exists firmly in the mind of Calvin and his henchmen. Never in the mind if God.

        Lydia

        “Happy to oblige Lydia. In biblical doctrine the reprobate are not adopted.”

        So Calvins version of the deterministic god predetermined this reprobate would mimic all the characteristics of a saved person (having correct doctrine, of course) and even believe it themselves them BAM, POW, they find out upon death it was all a cosmic bait and switch.

        Doesn’t sound like the Jesus I know. Sounds like Islam., though

        Les Prouty

        Darn Lydia. Our one agreement maybe ever over at Voices is followed by more disagreement. I suppose it was ordained.

        You: “So Calvins version of the deterministic god predetermined this reprobate would mimic all the characteristics of a saved person (having correct doctrine, of course) and even believe it themselves them BAM, POW, they find out upon death it was all a cosmic bait and switch.”

        Me: No, the God of the bible ordained all that comes to pass without also at the same time directly causing all things that come to pass. Here’s a thought (a biblical one): God does not have to cause sinners to sin. Sinners sin according to their natures.

        “WCF VI. As God has appointed the elect unto glory, so has He, by the eternal and most free purpose of His will, foreordained all the means thereunto. Wherefore, they who are elected, being fallen in Adam, are redeemed by Christ, are effectually called unto faith in Christ by His Spirit working in due season, are justified, adopted, sanctified, and kept by His power, through faith, unto salvation. Neither are any other redeemed by Christ, effectually called, justified, adopted, sanctified, and saved, but the elect only.

        WCF VII: The rest of mankind God was pleased, according to the unsearchable counsel of His own will, whereby He extends or withholds mercy, as He pleases, for the glory of His sovereign power over His creatures, to pass by; and to ordain them to dishonor and wrath for their sin, to the praise of His glorious justice.”

        There’s your obligatory copy and paste showing what Reformed theology teaches, as opposed to the constant caricatures and misunderstandings posted here. Disagree all one wants. But at least get it right.

    Andy

    So you are not a calvinist? Thanks for the clarification.

    But I was asking about adoption. Are you saying you disagree with the (non-calvinists) Robert and Hershel Hobbs when they (the non-calvinists) say christians are already adopted at conversion?

      Lydia

      “But I was asking about adoption. Are you saying you disagree with the (non-calvinists) Robert and Hershel Hobbs when they (the non-calvinists) say christians are already adopted at conversion?”

      Not if “conversion” includes repent and believe.

        Andy

        ANDY SAID: “Are you saying you disagree… christians are already adopted at conversion?”

        LYDIA SAID: “Not if “conversion” includes repent and believe.”

        —> Wow! This must mean that Andrew Barker is only holdout…every other person agrees that a person is adopted once they repent and believe! :-)

          Andrew Barker

          Andy: If you think that being the only person to hold a view on something is going to persuade me to think otherwise, you are seriously mistaken! :) By the way, how does it feel like to be adopted? Some inheritance then! I’m hoping for something a bit better :)

      Les

      Conversion always includes repentance and faith. That’s nothing new.

    Andy

    Further, If adoption comes immediately after belief and repentance…OR upon death and entry into eternity with our full inheritance…NIETHER OF THOSE automatically implies a Calvinistic understanding. You are conflating two different issues.

      Andrew Barker

      Andy: But one option will preclude the Calvinistic doctrine on predestination, namely if we have to wait for our adoption. So I do think it is germane to the discussion, like it or not. Ask yourself the question. “Have I entered into my full inheritance including the redemption of my body”? If the answer is no, then I would suggest you haven’t been adopted. This is what is implied by Rom 8:23

        Andy

        “Ask yourself the question. “Have I entered into my full inheritance including the redemption of my body”? If the answer is no, then I would suggest you haven’t been adopted. This is what is implied by Rom 8:23”

        –> WE’ve been over this a lot, but let me clarify again:
        1. I DO NOT DISAGREE that we await the full fulfillment and culmination of the full benefits of our adoption. Trying to convince me of such is unnecessary.
        2. BUT, I do not equate adoption and inheritance…because Galatians does not equate them. It says we are sons NOW, but we are also heirs (those who await an inheritance).

        Andy

        ANDREW: “But one option will preclude the Calvinistic doctrine on predestination, namely if we have to wait for our adoption.”

        Bingo! And this, I believe is the weakness of you position. You believe that this one thing can disprove calvinism, and so you cannot look at it as an isolated issue apart from the calvinism issue. The thing is, Proving God doesn’t know the future WOULD ALSO disprove calvinism…but we don’t go there because the bible doesn’t let us. And the fact is, you are wrong if you think that a concession on this point is a concession to calvinism, just as an open theist is wrong when he things omniscience is a concession to calvinism…the fact is, Adrain Rogers, Robert, Lydia, and nearly every other non-calvinist I’ve ever heard says a christian is adopted upon belief and repentance, ie at conversion….

          Andrew Barker

          Andy: Nowhere have I said that this one thing can or does disprove Calvinism. I said it drives a coach and horses through it and I stand by that. Loads of issues which you can’t address and evade. Nor do I think this would be a concession to Calvinism. I just happen to think that it’s incorrect. You can line up a list of non-calvinists as long as your arm and it won’t make a jot of difference.

          The fact is, the position on adoption is (IMO) badly taught and has been for a long while. People on the list you quote will also doubtless concede some points and not everybody will have the same reservations or objections as I do, but they may be a least a little more sympathetic to my position than you are indicating they might be. By the way, it’s always risky to start quoting people are on your side unless you’re 100% sure. Just sayin’.

          If you can find an explanation as to what “receiving the spirit of adoption” means and perhaps why we are adopted (apparently) but still waiting for our adoption, just then, I might start to rethink my position. Until then, I’ll stay where I am thanks. :)

    Kyle

    Lydia,
    You don’t seem to understand Calvinism very well. Repentance and faith are not forced in reformed theology. Have you studied reformed theology or even your scriptures regarding the concepts that are the foundation for reformed theology?

    It appears you have a weak view of man’s depravity and possibly a weaker view of the supernatural nature of regeneration.

    There is not a single condition of reformed theology, in respect to the specific aspect of salvation, that is forced.

      Lydia

      Kyle writes:

      “You do not seem to understand that regeneration proceeds repentance and faith in reformed theology. Reformed theology teaches that we must be regenerate to even want to repent and trust Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.
      If you believe that God is omniscient. m. If God is omniscient, then He knows all things, including who will repent and believe in Jesus Christ for salvation. Let’s say you are planning to go visit a specific friend tomorrow, then God knows you are going to visit that particular friend tomorrow (God knew this from eternity past even before you were born). Therefore, in every single aspect of your life God knows exactly what you will do from eternity past. If God knows you are going to do “A”, then guess what you cannot do…”B”. So, at the very least, from God’s perspective, every single thought and action of your life is predetermined. If you reply to this post, then it is predetermined, from the perspective of God’s knowledge at least, and you cannot do otherwise.”

      “There is not a single condition of reformed theology, in respect to the specific aspect of salvation, that is forced.”

      QED

Lydia

“Further, If adoption comes immediately after belief and repentance…OR upon death and entry into eternity with our full inheritance…NIETHER OF THOSE automatically implies a Calvinistic understanding. You are conflating two different issues.”

That is strange. I do not include determinism in conversion. I also think it is a mistake to focus on one book and decide if Calvinism can be an alternative understanding within a proof text there in order to “find agreement”. I am not really interested in agreement but seeking truth. I tend to use a Jesus filter for all the letters. I know, I am mean. :o) I just find determinism and dualism a black hole to avoid when read scripture.

    Kyle

    Lydia,

    You do not seem to understand that regeneration proceeds repentance and faith in reformed theology. Reformed theology teaches that we must be regenerate to even want to repent and trust Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.
    If you believe that God is omniscient, then you already believe in some form of determinism. If God is omniscient, then He knows all things, including who will repent and believe in Jesus Christ for salvation. Let’s say you are planning to go visit a specific friend tomorrow, then God knows you are going to visit that particular friend tomorrow (God knew this from eternity past even before you were born). Therefore, in every single aspect of your life God knows exactly what you will do from eternity past. If God knows you are going to do “A”, then guess what you cannot do…”B”. So, at the very least, from God’s perspective, every single thought and action of your life is predetermined. If you reply to this post, then it is predetermined, from the perspective of God’s knowledge at least, and you cannot do otherwise.

kyle

If you believe in God’s omniscient attribute you cannot be an arminian. If God knows all things before He even creates, that would include a person’s salvation. If God knows with absolute certainty you are going to “A”. Guess what you can’t do…”B”. If God knows from eternity passed you are going to be saved, guess what you can’t do..reject repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. Therefore, from you cannot go have libertarian free will. If God knew from eternity past, you could not reject through Gospel.

    Robert

    Kyle,
    Your first line here is totally false, one can be an Arminian, Traditionalist, or other non-calvinist and hold to ominscience. Apparently you are not very well read on this subject or you would never have made such a false claim. Since you made this point in two separate posts I will deal with it here. YOu may not like or agree with how non-calvinists hold to omniscience and free will, but that does not matter. You seem to argue that if God knows that I will do X (say go to a Mexican restaurant tommorrow for dinner), then because this will happen with certainty (and it will happen with certainty if that is what in fact I will freely choose to do tomorrow) then I could not do otherwise and so my action is determined. We believe that God foreknows what we will in fact choose to do (if we will not in fact choose to do X then God would not foreknow us doing X). We also believe in free will as ordinarily understood (which does not mean that I can do other than I will in fact choose to do, but means that before the choice is actually made if I am acting freely then I could choose to do X or Y or . . .). If I will in fact choose to go to the Mexican restaurant tomorrow then God foreknows that I will do that. He is forekowing what I will freely choose ot do. If instead of chooseing to do X tomorrow, I will in fact choose to do Y, then God foreknows that I will choose to do Y tomorrow. Whatever I freely choose to do tomorrow is what God foreknows that I will choose to do. I cannot do otherwise than I will in fact freely choose to do, but that is not an argument against free will, that is the nature of free will (i.e. that I will in fact choose to do something). Whatever that something is, that I will freely choose to do is what God foreknows that I will choose to do. God’s foreknowledge does not cause my choice.

    You are failing to distinguish between certainty and determinism. It does not follow from the fact that God knows I will freely choose to do X tomorrow that my action is determined, what it means is that I will choose to do this action with certainty. But certainty is not the same as determinism and certainty does not eliminate free will. If I act with libertarian free will tomorrow when I make my choice, then I will with certainty make some choice. That choice that I will make with certainty is what God foreknows I will choose to do. But the fact that I will choose to do X with certainty does not mean that my action is determined: if I will choose to do Y with certainty, then that is what I will freely choose to do. If you were more well read in the abundant literature on this subject written by non-Calvinists you would know this. Since you don’t know this you make the false claim that the non-Calvinist cannot believe in omniscience. Non-calvinists have believed in and affirmed both omniscience and libertarian free will throughout church history. You may not like this, you may not agree with it, but it is false to claim that we cannot affirm both.

Kyle

I would like to deal with a passage that is key in this discussion in 2 Peter 3:9 (The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance). Arminian’s regularly use this text to try to prove that God wants every single person to be saved. The question is, who is the “you” that He is patient toward? It is undisputed that the patience is related to Christ’ return as the previous verses are a discussion about “where is the promise of His coming?” His patience is “salvation” 2 Peter 3:15. So Christ is waiting for “you” and the purpose in waiting for the “you” in the passage is SALVATION..

If the Lord is not willing that any should perish but all should come to repentance. We know without question that the way to heaven/salvation is narrow. Jesus makes it very clear in Matthew 7 is that the way to destruction is broad and the way to life is narrow. Jesus even makes it more clear that “few find” life. I would even suggest that Jesus is talking about the visible christian church and the broad and narrow gate are within the visible christian church. Read the rest of the context of Jesus’ words in this passage about false prophets, true and false disciples. etc. It is hard to imagine he is talking about the Roman empire and other non professing Christians.
Now let’s get back to the use of 2 Peter 3:9 by Arminian’s. If the Arminian’s view is correct in that God is not willing that any should perish but all should come to repentance and the context of this verse is about the question regarding where is the promise of His coming? Then why has Christ waited 2000 years to return? If He concerned about the salvation of every single person, then it would seem that waiting would be the worst possible plan of action (Note: I heard this important question from a gracious pastor in West Virginia)..Currently there are 7 plus billion people on the planet. Approximately 155,000 people die each day. That is approximately 56 million people die each year. If we take Jesus’ words seriously, then most of the people dying each day are dying without a relationship with Christ and thus eternal life. Therefore, with each passing day 155,000 people die and most without Christ. Each year, approximately, about 56 million die and per Jesus’ most go down the broad road of destruction without Christ. These are just thoughts related to one year. Through the population of the earth has varied throughout history, the same principle of the broad and narrow roads are unchanging.. Therefore, if billions of people have died without Christ and God is not willing that any should perish, why is Christ still delaying his coming? Could it be that the “you” in the passage are God’s elect people? That is, He is patient toward His elect and is waiting for that last elect a person to come to saving faith faith in Jesus Christ? After all, verse 15 says that the patience of the Lord i. Thank about it, if you will, please. Regards, Kyle

Paul N

God is being patient with His elect to do what? God chooses when He will call the elect so who is He being patient with?

Plus it cannot be possible for the elect to perish. If they could, they would not be His elect. As i read here, a calvinist said he was saved before he was even born.

Andrew Barker

There are a number of reasons why I’ve come to the decision I have on adoption.

There are no passages of scripture which state we are ‘adopted into God’s family’ or anything close to this. In fact there are no verses which even contain the words adoption and family (NASB). In contrast though, there is good biblical support indicating we are born into God’s family and that our birth is a completely new beginning. John 3:7 plus surrounding verses; 1 Peter 1:3; James 1:18

We are born into God’s family. So why would we need to be adopted into God’s family when we are already born into it? To me this seems a very strange stance to take.

No one verse or passage is going to contain all the truth on a particular topic so to get an accurate picture we need to consider all the various verses which relate to the subject matter. Gal 4:1-7 simply refers to making adoption possible. It doesn’t actually say when adoption occurs. It does link it to sonship so some might infer that it occurs when we become sons but that’s not explicitly stated. But by itself, it is not sufficient to provide a balanced view of adoption. We need to include all the verses to reach a more reasoned decision.

The phrase ‘adoption as sons’ is used in Eph 1:4 and Rom 8:23. In both cases it suggests adoption is a future benefit. We have the spirit of God which gives us a hope which we eagerly wait to be fulfilled. 2 Cor 5:5 confirms that our bodies are temporary homes and we have a promise within us, the holy spirit as a pledge. I would link this with Rom 8:15 as the spirit of ‘adoption as sons’. This means that our adoption is totally secure and guaranteed from the moment we become a child of God. But it does not mean we enter into the benefits of our adoption at that stage. So we’re not really adopted at that stage, are we? At least not fully!

All Christians are born again. Without being born again we cannot see (experience) the kingdom of heaven. Being born again is not a renewal but a completely new beginning. 2 Cor 5:17 we are new creatures! We are born into the family of God and it’s not just that we share the status of sons and daughters. We are given that right John 1:12. Why, if we have sound scriptural support for being born into God’s family, would anybody in their right mind try to argue we are adopted into God’s family when there is no clear scripture which says this? Why?

I have no explanation as to why the idea of being adopted into God’s family has gained such acceptance. It sounds plausible I guess and we like the idea of being adopted and that it’s a good thing to look after children who have lost parents etc. But that’s hardly a basis for sound doctrine, especially since our modern idea of adoption does not really coincide with what Paul was likely to be considering in his writings. It may be down to the phrase occurring in songs or similar (which often suffer from poetic ‘license’) but however it has gained acceptance, I can find no substantive biblical support for the idea. Neither has any been shown on this blog to date. It has no particular connection to Reformed theology, other than the fact that since adoption is linked as part of predestination it becomes apparent that predestination does not refer to becoming a Christian, but rather the hope of all children of God that their future inheritance is secure.

A number of comments have been made suggesting I am out on my own on this one. So be it. It’s probably not the most important of doctrines so I’m not going to loose any sleep over it. But I do think that the idea of being adopted into God’s family flies in the face of scripture which I think indicates that we are born into God’s family. That I do believe is worth sticking up for and that’s where I’m at. :) This really is, probably, my last comment on adoption unless somebody comes up with something worthwhile.

    Andy

    Thanks for the civilized debate…enjoyed it!
    -Andy

    Paul N

    Thanks for this. I always accepted adoption at face value, as we understand it. What you say here really does make a lot of sense and has reminded me to not just agree because there is a prevaling understanding amongst believers.

    Thanks again!

      Andrew Barker

      Paul N: Comment appreciated. Thanks :)

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